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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Ghosts exist and try to kill people so they can have company. They write on mirrors and give children jewelry.
Positive Role Models
Teenager Molly was traumatized by her father's suicide and now is coping with her mother's new husband, a stepsister with mental problems, and a move to a dilapidated house in the middle of nowhere. Despite real problems and oblivious parents, she manages to be remarkably responsible and decent to her troubled stepsister, eventually saving her life.
Violence & Scariness
A girl is seen from behind walking deliberately, fully clothed, into a lake and submerging. In flashback a young girl accidentally locks her parents in the cellar, then knocks over a kerosene lamp that causes a deadly fire. The parents are heard yelling to be let out as the girl runs into a lake to put out the fire on her clothes. Doors of a haunted house fly open by themselves, allowing swarms of either locusts or bats to enter and demolish the place. This is accompanied by loud sound effects and scary music. A girl deliberately walks into a lake in order to kill herself and be with her new ghost friend. Her older sister jumps in and rescues her.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A girl takes swigs from her stepdad's whisky bottle.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Wait Till Helen Comes, a 2016 Canadian horror-drama based on the novel of the same name by Mary Downing Hahn, has plenty to scare kids. There's a house haunted by a ghost that lures children to drown themselves, lots of loud and mysteriously shutting doors, swarms of locusts, and a revelation of three fiery deaths long ago. Children who have lost their parents cope with the trauma. Issues of mental illness and suicide are raised. A girl takes swigs from her stepdad's whisky bottle. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
According to the distributor, this movie is "a scary ghost story for children not allowed at PG-13 and R-rated movies." In other words, it's specifically targeted at a pretty limited audience -- kids under 13. For parents who worry about overexposure to profanity and sex, Wait Till Helen Comes will trigger no alarm bells. However, just because the movie doesn't have cursing or nudity doesn't mean it's right for tweens. Nightmares are likely to be generated by nasty black flying things and ghosts luring children to drown themselves. Caution is urged. This may be too intense for many kids.
Ghost stories are always problematic. Why do the ghosts want to scare people? Why do they kill people? What good does more dead people do them? Don't look for answers here. In this case, a 19th century girl died in an accident and, for generations to come, she keeps drowning other girls, supposedly so she can have company. Are there no other already dead people she can hang out with in the netherworld? Even crazier is that the haunting problem is finally solved when Molly opens a stuck cellar door, freeing the ghost's dead parents' spirits from where they died to rise into the night sky in swirling white mists of scariness. But wait. Ghosts walk through walls, right? How does a measly cellar door hold back any self-respecting spirit? For that matter, how come we don't all regularly see swirling spirits at funerals? At cemeteries? In hospitals? Sigh. The great Maria Bello's talents are wasted here.
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.
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