Victor Frankenstein

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Victor Frankenstein Movie Poster Image
Story about friendship loses focus in action and violence.
  • PG-13
  • 2015
  • 109 minutes

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 8 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Sometimes demonstrates some of the things that make up a friendship: compromise, communication, sharing, etc.

Positive Role Models & Representations

A strong friendship is at the center of the movie; both characters are intelligent scientists, but separately, their behavior is questionable, and they're sometimes involved in violent incidents.


Fighting, chasing, punching, kicking. Monster bashes characters against walls; characters impale monster with objects. A monkey-monster is killed with a blunt object; pool of blood on the floor. A man's hand is caught in a machine; there's a grinding noise, and minor blood splatter is shown. Scene of guns and shooting (at monster). Acrobat falls from high up. Emergency bone-setting. Knife-throwing, fire-spitting. Things set on fire. Lightning, explosions. Minor character dies from a knife wound. Character is tied up, gagged, and thrown into the water. Cruel, bullying treatment of a hunchback at a circus. Draining fluid from large cyst. Creepy monster made of animal parts. More creepy lab experiments; trays of organs and guts.


Characters kiss while lying on the floor; man is shirtless. Sex is implied. A male character takes a shower; nothing sensitive shown. Mention of human reproductive processes.


A couple of uses of "s--t," plus "hell," "damn," and "oh my God" (as an exclamation).

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The main character drinks heavily and frequently for a stretch due to stress and anguish; he appears to be drunk. An unseen character is referred to as a drug addict.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Victor Frankenstein is an action-oriented update of Mary Shelley's classic novel that focuses largely on the friendship between Victor Frankenstein (James McAvoy) and Igor (Daniel Radcliffe); it has some blood and undeniably scary/horrific images, but it's not really a horror film. Expect plenty of fighting, punching, bashing, and kicking, plus some knives and shooting and monster violence. Some blood is shown, and there are monsters, explosions, and fire; minor characters die. Characters kiss, and a sex act is implied but not shown; there's also some minor sex talk. The main character drinks heavily during one sequence, but it appears to have no lasting effects. Language is infrequent but includes a couple of "s--t"s, as well as "damn," and "oh my God." There's a reference to a minor character being gay.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byStevie111 April 14, 2016

Victor Frankenstein is an intense take on the classic character

Victor Frankenstein is a well acted and entertaining movie, but I think it is hard to classify, it is not really a "horror" movie, but has horror elem... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written bypeytongj March 5, 2016

Great Movie

I don't know why this movie got such bad ratings. It was very well done and the acting is very good. Daniel Radcliffe and James McAvoy were great! I recomm... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old February 17, 2018

What's the story?

A nameless hunchback (Daniel Radcliffe) lives and works as a humiliated circus clown, but he loves to study science and anatomy in his off hours. One day, Victor Frankenstein (James McAvoy) comes to the circus and sees the hunchback save the life of a fatally injured acrobat (Jessica Brown Findlay). Victor rescues the hunchback, fixes his medical problems, names him "Igor," and makes him an assistant. Together they work on Victor's ultimate experiment: bringing life back into dead tissue. But after a violent incident involving an early experiment, Igor begins to fear that Victor may be going down the wrong track. At the same time, a relentless Scotland Yard inspector (Andrew Scott) is also snooping around.

Is it any good?

At first, the movie focuses on the strange, tender, sometimes amusing friendship between the two leads, and it works well, but it goes off in too many directions, with needless action and padding. Both McAvoy and Radcliffe are terrific; McAvoy is cheerfully manic, Radcliffe is soulfully compassionate, and their relationship is fascinating, fluctuating, and truthful. There could have been a rich movie about the two of them, worthy of Mary Shelley herself.

But screenwriter Max Landis tacks on too many subplots and uninteresting supporting characters, such as a romance for Igor and some single-minded bad guys. Director Paul McGuigan seems uninspired by this extra material and begins distractedly making little designs with glass and reflections/refractions. His action scenes are likewise uninspired; they feel very choppy and lazily cobbled together. VICTOR FRANKENSTEIN seems like a compromised vision, designed to pander to audiences rather than telling a good story.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Victor Frankenstein's violence. Which parts affected you the most? What kinds of things are shown, and what's left out? What's the impact of violent media on kids?

  • Is the movie scary? Why is the Frankenstein storyline considered to be horror? Would you consider this a horror movie?

  • How important is sex to the Igor character? Does it change him? How? Parents, talk to your teens about your own values regarding sex and relationships.

  • What are the themes of the original Frankenstein story? Does this movie deal with the same themes? New ones?

  • What's the friendship like between Victor and Igor? What kinds of things do they agree on or disagree on? How does it compare to your own friendships?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love monsters

Themes & Topics

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