A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Violence & Scariness
Teams of birds and snakes attack at different times -- the Old Ones are completely covered in snakes at one point (they seem oddly calm about it). A crypt is littered with bones -- there's one shocking close-up of a skull. The masked Black Rider is always in pursuit -- sometimes with black, curtainy emptiness swirling around him, sucking up everything in its path. Will sets off an explosion in anger and knocks his brother out with a punch. Mention of a kidnapping that devastated Will's parents. A medieval village is pillaged. A bar in 1690 stages a cockfight (not shown). Giant icicles crash down on Will's family, and they're threatened by forces of the Dark to get to Will.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Teens engage in mild flirting. Teasing about puberty and body changes.
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Products & Purchases
iPod and Xbox
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Some wine and ale drinking by adults. Two men let themselves into a pub during the snowstorm and pour themselves pints.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that one scene in this fantasy movie stands out as too much for younger kids: Hundreds and hundreds of snakes attack people in a church, pursuing the teen hero to a crypt littered with skeletons (one of which briefly comes to life). Black birds gather in droves and attack, and Will is constantly pursued by a dark force, most often in the form of a masked man on horseback. The forces also threaten Will's whole family; at one point, giant icicles rain down on them. Will witnesses some violent events in his time travels, including the pillaging of a medieval village and the start of a cockfight in a tavern. In anger and frustration, he sets off a fiery explosion. Adults drink a little ale and wine. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Kids pining for a new Harry Potter-style fantasy film epic will have to keep the vigil going. Will Stanton, seventh son of a seventh son, seeker of the signs that will save all from darkness, makes a fine hero in Susan Cooper's The Dark Is Rising book series, but the movie adaptation is lousy. Even though a few CGI moments are great fantasy fun, the story is so muddled -- and so unnecessarily altered from the source material -- that it may make you side with the dark forces just this once. Will's growing relationship with the Old Ones and his realization that he's special and has a calling just isn't developed well. The movie's ending is strange and implausible, even for fantasy, and brings up all sorts of questions that future books in Cooper's series won't answer -- because they were not in the book to begin with.
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Our Editors Recommend
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