A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Offers a sympathetic perspective on mental illness. Alongside all the material about serial killers and family curses, it's also about how difficult it can be to ask for help.
Positive Role Models
Tara is smart and tough but in many scenes comes across as disrespectful toward authority figures and others. As movie goes on, she slips easily into a heroic role, protecting her younger brothers, eventually finds the strength to solve her problems.
The movie is largely female-driven, with several vivid, powerful women characters. Main character Tara is in a loving, positive interracial relationship. A couple of other people of color are seen in supporting roles.
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Violence & Scariness
Imagined scene of woman taking an ax to a baby (nothing seen). Bloody attacks, bloody wounds. Many characters die. Character's hand sliced down the middle. Killer chopping up victim off-screen. Person slicing leg with ax; lots of blood. Ax to character's neck, head, chest. One character attacks another, jumping at her and holding her down. Frequent, brief violent flashes. Fighting. Tripping. Woman grabbed by hair and thrown against wall. Teen cuts self on arm. Character attacked with shovel. Jump scares. Brief shooting; a person is shot. Fighting during hockey game: shoving, tripping, etc. Creepy person stalking in the shadows. Crime scene photos. Violent dialogue includes descriptions of a woman murdering a child. Arguing. Reference to incest.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Kissing. Character lying on bed begins to masturbate, sliding hand down pants, reacting with pleasure. One character jumps into another's arms. Sexual gesture. Sex-related dialogue. Dialogue about a man sending a teen girl a "d--k pic." One character caresses another's dress in a sensual way.
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Somewhat frequent use of "f--k," "s--t," "bulls--t," "bitch," "goddamn," "damn," "d--k," "pimp." "Jesus" and "Jesus Christ" used as exclamations. Middle-finger gesture.
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Products & Purchases
A character sells things on Etsy.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Character drinks by himself in his truck; tiny bottle of liquor, swigs from flask. Character pours herself a refill of wine. Reference to a teen "getting high." Joking reference to a "coke bender." Reference to a person blacking out from drinking. Reference to someone taking "all those pills."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Inhabitant is a horror thriller about a descendant of Lizzie Borden who believes that she may be cursed. The plot is silly, but the characters, their relationships, and the movie's sympathetic depiction of mental illness make it worth a look for horror hounds ages 16 and up. Violence is graphic and intense. There are (imagined) images of a baby in jeopardy, many bloody ax attacks, bloody wounds, jump scares, fighting, a shooting, a teen cutting her arm, and more. There are also violent "flashes": quick images that flare up for atmosphere. A character begins to masturbate, sliding her hand down her pants and reacting with pleasure. There's also kissing, sexual gestures, and sex-related dialogue. Strong language includes uses of "f--k," "s--t," "bitch," "goddamn," and more. A character drinks from a flask and a tiny bottle in secret, another character drinks wine, and there are spoken references to drinking, taking pills, and teen drug use. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This silly horror thriller doesn't always work, especially toward the end, but it earns points for its complex family relations and the genuine way its troubled teen characters speak and behave. The Inhabitant hinges on a ridiculous idea: that Lizzie Borden, who was accused of murdering her family with an ax in 1892 and subsequently acquitted, was actually a homicidal maniac capable of passing down her brand of murderous intent to her descendants. The movie itself seems fascinated with the monster version of Borden, without really asking why.
But Tara and her younger brother have a rapport that feels organic. They're clever and quick witted and able to tip the balance of power in their favor; their little showdowns are most amusing. (Their parents, played by Leslie Bibb and Dermot Mulroney, are frequently at a loss.) Moreover, Tara's interactions with her boyfriend, her best friend, and authority figures help portray her as a well-rounded character, full of ever changing nuance. As a result, the world set up by The Inhabitant seems to dig into real-world emotional struggles, and it's easy to be touched by them. It's too bad the movie springs a dull, poorly played whodunit on viewers in the end, as well as a race against time to save the day. This movie had the stuff to be something much better, but, still, the good parts make it worth a look.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.