The Lost Boys

Movie review by
Afsheen Nomai, Common Sense Media
The Lost Boys Movie Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Scary '80s vampire film mixes gore with campy humor.
  • R
  • 1987
  • 97 minutes

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 18 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 44 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

No real positive messages. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Characters are too cartoonish, one-dimensional, and often stereotypical to be seen as positive role models. 


Gory vampire deaths -- stakes through hearts, electrocution, melting skin from holy water and garlic, blood, and some gore. Blood shoots out of faucets, spraying all over a house. A fight breaks out on a merry-go-round. The California beach community where the movie is set is described by locals as "the murder capital of the world." There are frequent disappearances -- bills for missing children and adults  are frequently shown on phone poles, bulletin boards, and milk cartons. Peril -- a teen boy gives in to peer pressure and hangs from an iron rod below a bridge on a foggy night and loses his grip as a train goes by. There are also two dog attacks, one in which a woman narrowly avoids getting bitten, and a teen sustains injuries to his hand. There's one gross-out scene in which a character about to eat Chinese food hallucinates maggots instead of fried rice and worms instead of noodles.


Implied sex. Talk of how one of the characters "got lucky" last night. 


Infrequent use of the word "s--t." "A--hole," "piss off," "goddamn," "damn." The grandfather, upon seeing one of his disheveled grandsons, makes a joke about how "we both got lucky last night." 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Teens drink beer at nighttime beach parties, act drunk, smoke cigarettes. Two teens who have just moved into their grandfather's house note the marijuana plants growing in the windowsill. Adults drink wine at dinner. A teen boy asks his brother, "Are you freebasing?" 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Lost Boys is a 1987 horror movie mixed with some campy comedy about vampires wreaking havoc on a California beach town. There are some gory and bloody deaths, with stakes through hearts, electrocutions, and skin melting from holy water and garlic, with blood spraying, spurting, and even gushing through the plumbing. There are also two dog attacks, one in which a woman narrowly avoids getting bitten, and a teen sustains injuries to his hand. There are moments of peril, including one in which a teen succumbs to peer pressure and hangs from a rod underneath a bridge as a train rolls overhead, causing him to lose his grip and fall into the foggy unknown. There's one gross-out scene in which a character about to eat Chinese food hallucinates maggots instead of fried rice and worms instead of noodles. Teens smoke cigarettes and drink beer. Profanity includes "s--t" and "a--hole." Essentially, this is a very 1980s take on vampires, with lots of punky haircuts, goth music, and "the Coreys" (Corey Haim and Corey Feldman) providing most of the comic relief through absurd dialogue at just the right moments to temper the horror. 

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 10 and 13-year-old Written bySuperParent September 2, 2009
WE LOVE THIS FILM! nothing is bad except a few violent scene and one second sex scene with no nudity! highly reccomend it!
Adult Written byRateMyChainsaw May 23, 2020

All time classic

This is a wonderful introductory horror-comedy for younger kids. This is a funny almost Goonies style romp with the odd swear, over the top gore (that only ta... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written bySab2006 May 19, 2020

From a 12 year old

I loved this movie, definitely top 10 for me! It is a little scary, stabbing scenes, people melting and things like that but it is obviously fake. It isn’t very... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byandrewjacobsen915 May 1, 2020

One thing about living in Santa Carla I never could stomach ... all the damn vampires

This movie is great for mature 12 year olds, their is a scene in the movie were a kid spikes a vampire through the heart, the blood and gore look so fake, the b... Continue reading

What's the story?

In THE LOST BOYS, the Emerson family has just moved to Santa Carla, self-titled murder capital of the world, and already oldest son Michael (Jason Patric) has fallen in with the wrong crowd. Out one night, he meets Star (Jami Gertz), whom he follows and who introduces him to David (Kiefer Sutherland). David is the leader of a gang of vampires, and, after hanging out, Michael unwittingly joins their clan. Meanwhile, David's brother, Sam (Corey Haim), befriends the Frog brothers (Corey Feldman and Jamison Newlander), a pair of young vampire hunters. When David finds out what's going on, he and the young kids embark on a mission to destroy the head vampire and return their lives to normal. Dianne Wiest also stars as Michael and Sam's mother.

Is it any good?

The Lost Boys is a fun film to watch and is certainly one of the better vampire films to come out in the 1980s. Although he might not have been trying to, Kiefer vamps it up well and is enjoyable to watch. The film works a lot better as camp than as a serious vampire film; however, parents should be warned that there are some scary moments, and younger or more sensitive kids may be frightened.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about peer pressure. Why did Michael go along with the pack? Even though he later regrets it, what could he have done (if anything) to keep himself from falling into their trap?

  • How can you tell this movie is a product of the '80s? How would the movie be different had it been set in the 1950s or the 2010s? 

  • How is violence and peril conveyed in The Lost Boys? Did it seem necessary for the story, or did it seem gratuitous? 

Movie details

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