A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
No positive messages in this horror movie.
Positive Role Models
Diversity in the cast. Movie centered on a blended family.
Violence & Scariness
Horror movie violence and imagery. Possessed dolls, toys, and video games from the 1970s and '80s cause death, car accidents, encourage suicide by jumping out of a third-story window of a house. Man impaled through the chest by a loose and sharp piece of hardwood flooring. Character stabbed to death. Blood. A Christmas tree attacks one of the characters, attempting to choke them with Christmas lights. Jump scares.
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During a climactic moment of the movie, character mutters "F--k Christmas." Also: "s--t," "goddamn," "damn," "hell." While losing at a video game, young boy yells "Dog balls!" then later yells "Balls!" Older sister calls younger brother a "loser."
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Products & Purchases
The toys, dolls, and video game system in the movie are similar to toys that were popular in the past.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A possessed toy growls that it's "time to drink and drive."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Toys of Terror is a 2020 holiday horror movie in which a family spending Christmas in an isolated rehabbed mansion must contend with a group of murderous old toys. Horror imagery and violence. One of the characters gets impaled through the chest by a piece of hardwood flooring. A woman is stabbed to death before falling through a third-story window. One of the characters is attacked by a Christmas tree, choked by the lights. A car accident during a bad snowstorm. The toys, when not killing or attacking, encourage suicide by jumping out of a window. Jump scares throughout. Some profanity, including "f--k" during a climactic moment. While not as gory or violent as other horror movies, there's plenty of imagery that's likely to give younger and more sensitive viewers nightmares, making this best for older teens and up. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Toys of Terror is a cheesy, low-budget holiday horror movie constrained by the formulaic nature of the "haunted house" movie. While parents who were kids of the 1970s and '80s will have plenty of "Oh yeah, I remember..." moments when seeing these possessed toys that look similar to the popular toys of their childhoods, the kitsch of these toys turned psychotic doesn't quite carry the day. If anything, it suggests a missed opportunity for something with the potential to have been much more original than what it ended up being. The twists and turns to the story never break out of the mold, and the result comes across as something seen so many times before.
On the plus side, there's a welcome diversity to the cast, and one of the subplots concerns a blended family where the parents and kids struggle with making the holidays work. However, like the kitschy toys, this also feels like a missed opportunity as the movie becomes too concerned with hitting plot points than working the blended family dynamic more into the action. Also, there's a caretaker of the kids who seems, in hindsight, to only exist for the purposes of the attempt at a "spooky epilogue." Toys of Terror will be enjoyable for those looking for a break from the standard saccharin holiday fare, but the result is ultimately disappointing and a wasted opportunity.
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.