The Sinners

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
The Sinners Movie Poster Image
Violence, language, and sex in ineffective thriller.
  • NR
  • 2021
  • 96 minutes

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Tends to associate faith and piousness with intolerance, showing small-town residents who are quick to judge others and to take revenge (characters in a church start shouting "no mercy for the wicked!"; movie's narrator believes that "homosexuality is a sin"). It's not an entirely fair representation but could prompt discussion.

Positive Role Models

Only the sheriff seems to be an overall decent person, but even his moral center is clouded by a few confusing scenes. Otherwise, no characters are admirable. Stereotypes small-town residents as quick to judge others and to take revenge.

Violence

Guns and shooting. Rifle in teen girl's mouth. Characters shot. Characters die, dead bodies. Pool of blood. Teen girls are grabbed/abducted by a masked man and chained/tied up. Girls chloroform another girl, kick her, dump her in a car trunk. More kicking. Satanic ritual, satanic star carved in flesh. Spooky stuff; scary "nun" creeps up on girl in bathtub. Cut on hand, some blood shown. Arguing. Threats. Vomiting.

Sex

A woman seduces her husband; she unzips her blouse to reveal cleavage and spreads her legs apart (nothing explicit shown). He takes off his belt; sex is suggested. Teens kiss passionately. Teen girls in revealing clothing. Sex-related talk.

Language

Uses of "f--k," "motherf-----g," "s--t," "hell," "pr--k," "d--k," "balls," "stupid," and "shut up," plus "Jesus" and "Jesus Christ" used as exclamations. Middle-finger gesture.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Teen girls are chloroformed and given knockout drugs.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Sinners is a horror-thriller about a group of high school girls in a small, strictly religious town who call themselves the Seven Deadly Sins. A diary full of their darkest secrets leads to the girls disappearing one by one. Violence includes guns and shooting, deaths and dead bodies, blood, abduction, satanic rituals, spooky imagery, threats, arguing, and more. Teens kiss passionately, and a woman seduces her husband by showing her cleavage and spreading her legs. He takes off his belt, and sex is implied but nothing graphic is shown. Teens wear revealing clothing, and there's sex-related talk. Language also includes uses of "f--k," "motherf-----g," "s--t," and more. Teen girls are given chloroform and/or knockout drugs. The movie is cluttered and sometimes confusing, and its attempts to explore themes of piousness and intolerance are lost.

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What's the story?

In THE SINNERS, Aubrey (Brenna Llewellyn) narrates her story from beyond the grave. In a small, strictly religious town, she and her six high school friends decide to call themselves the Seven Deadly Sins. Aubrey is "pride," Katie (Keilani Elizabeth Rose) is "greed," Stacey (Jasmine Randhawa) is "envy," Robyn (Natalie Malaika) is "sloth," Molly (Carly Fawcett) is "gluttony," Tori (Brenna Coates) is "wrath," and Grace (Kaitlyn Bernard) -- the leader -- is "lust." When the group discovers that Aubrey is keeping a journal full of their darkest secrets, they decide to teach her a lesson. But their revenge backfires when Aubrey disappears. And soon the other girls begin to disappear one by one.

Is it any good?

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.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the violence in The Sinners. How much is directed toward women? How does that affect its impact?

  • How is sex part of the story? Does it seem necessary, or gratuitous? What values are imparted?

  • How are LGBTQ+ characters depicted? Are they respectfully, honestly shown? Did you notice any stereotyping?

  • The movie seems to imply a certain intolerance on the part of the very pious characters. What message does that send? Does it seem honest or fair?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love thrills

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