A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Quentin Tarantino's The Hateful Eight is a Western that promises -- and delivers -- extremely strong violence and language. Characters use guns, and tons of blood splatters, sprays, and oozes everywhere. A female character is punched in the face several times, knives and poison are used (victims of the latter vomit blood), and there are many dead bodies. In a flashback, a man who's shown full-frontally naked is forced to perform oral sex on another man. Language includes countless uses of the "N" word, "f--k," and "motherf----r," plus plenty of other words. Characters smoke cigarettes and pipes (accurate for the era) and drink whisky and brandy.
A blessing for Tarantino fans, a unique experience for many moviegoers, but DEFINITELY not for everyone
What's the story?
Bounty hunter John Ruth (Kurt Russell) transports his prisoner, Daisy Domergue (Jennifer Jason Leigh), via stagecoach to Red Rock, just ahead of a brutal snowstorm. Along the way, they encounter two stranded travelers: fellow bounty hunter Major Marquis Warren (Samuel L. Jackson) and the soon-to-be-appointed sheriff of Red Rock, Chris Mannix (Walton Goggins). When the storm overtakes them, the group shelters in Minnie's Haberdashery, where four more strangers await. Some of them seem to have a mysterious, perhaps deadly agenda, and not everyone is telling the truth. When one of them poisons the coffee, things take a turn for the worse, and a showdown is imminent.
Is it any good?
Tarantino's eighth movie is long, moving inevitably toward an expected, brutally violent climax -- but along the way the colorful characters and playful dialogue provide a twisted good time. The one-room pressure-cooker setting, plus the presence of Michael Madsen and Tim Roth, may remind viewers of Reservoir Dogs, which can be both good and bad. That film's clever, sinister structure left audiences wanting more, whereas the lengthy, bonkers THE HATEFUL EIGHT gives up everything (and the kitchen sink).
Which isn't to say that it's not a lot of fun; it has surprises up its sleeve, and, as simple as the premise/set-up all seems, the characters' motivations are often deliberately deceptive. Long dialogue sequences exist for the sheer joy of their sound and rhythm but are also sometimes used as sleight-of-hand. Tarantino also uses music (by Ennio Morricone) and silence to brilliant effect; that, plus the infectious character performances makes this truly killer entertainment.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about The Hateful Eight's extreme violence. What effect does it have? Is it exciting? Gruesome? Do different types of violence have a different impact on viewers?
Why do you think the movie has such a pervasive use of the "N" word? What effect does hearing it so often have? Do you think Tarantino is trying to say something by having the characters use it so much?
Are any of these characters likable? How can such despicable people be interesting? How do they compare to characters in other Tarantino movies?
What's the appeal of the Western genre? Why do you think it's less popular today than it once was? Could it make a comeback?
- In theaters: December 25, 2015
- On DVD or streaming: March 29, 2016
- Cast: Kurt Russell, Samuel L. Jackson, Jennifer Jason Leigh
- Director: Quentin Tarantino
- Studio: The Weinstein Company
- Genre: Western
- Run time: 182 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: strong bloody violence, a scene of violent sexual content, language and some graphic nudity
- Awards/Honors: Academy Award
For kids who love action and thrills
Our editors recommend
Top advice and articles
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.