Parents' Guide to

The Sinners

By Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Violence, language, and sex in ineffective thriller.

Movie NR 2021 96 minutes
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Loosely playing with themes of piousness and intolerance, this horror-thriller is so busy and cluttered that it becomes more of a confusing slog than anything entertaining or biting. Originally called The Color Rose, the now-titled The Sinners tries to establish the mood of its small town through Grace's father, the local pastor (Tahmoh Penikett), who always looks coiled and angry enough to chew nails. Family dinners are infernos of unreleased tension. Aubrey is also one of the most deeply pious people in the story, saying things like "homosexuality is a sin."

But if the opposite of this intolerance is sin, then the movie doesn't seem to know how it feels about its band of seven, either. Sometimes they seem like the heroes of the story, and other times they're punished for their transgressions. It doesn't help that The Sinners keeps introducing more and more characters and that not everyone in the crowded cast actually has a purpose. One exasperating sequence has two abrasive big-city cops showing up to "aid" the local sheriff (Aleks Paunovic), relentlessly picking on him; it seems to have been an attempt to illustrate the sheriff's backstory, which is totally unnecessary. Plus, the movie is frequently too dark (literally) and choppily edited, and it's easy to get characters confused. In short, this Sinners isn't exactly a winner.

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