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Parents' Guide to

The Aviary

By Jeffrey Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Effective psychological nailbiter about evil cult.

Movie R 2022 95 minutes
The Aviary Movie: Poster

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This compact, eerie little thriller makes excellent use of its wide-open spaces, flipping them to feel creepy and menacing and establishing an ever-shifting emotional flow that grips and disquiets. Written and directed by Chris Cullari and Jennifer Raite, The Aviary narrows its razor focus on just the three main characters (plus a fourth, played by Sandrine Holt, who appears in flashbacks). The descriptions of what's happened to the women and how they got where they are are handled deftly, via natural-sounding dialogue, and the women's relationship neatly undulates between compassion/helping to animosity over kept secrets.

Since both Jillian and Blair have undergone some kind of mysterious psychological conditioning, there's no way of knowing when either of them is telling the truth, lying, or under the influence of some strange suggestion. Every behavior is fraught with uncertainty and tension, which builds when Seth begins to appear. Is he really there? Who can see him? The Aviary ends with an even more diabolical scene: a promotional ad for Seth's "services" that promises to help dismantle the mental, emotional, and spiritual "cages" that people build for themselves. It's a reminder that wolves in sheep's clothing are still worth being wary of.

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