A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Teen horror movie attempts to make a comment on the lengths to which teens may go to become "internet famous," or to at least have a successful streaming channel.
Positive Role Models
Teens behave poorly. One kid makes "bum fight" videos of people who are unhoused, sets a man's hat on fire and films it, and makes crude insults. He also sneaks videos of the one woman in their group (close-ups of her body parts), then shares it with the other guys. This woman, Ayla, is a "mean girl" who bullies a classmate who seems to suffer from extreme social anxiety, and manipulates her into being an unwilling participant in a video they're making. Ayla uses her looks to manipulate those around her. The kids call themselves "Dockers" and pride themselves on doxing and blackmailing classmates. Parents are emotionally distant and self-centered. Ayla's mom's boyfriend offers Ayla beer and behaves in a creepy manner toward her.
The teacher, who seems to be the only somewhat decent adult (or person, for that matter) in the movie, is Black.
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Violence & Scariness
Horror movie violence and bullying. A monster thought to be an urban legend is discovered by teens and eventually attacks and kills those around it, chomping on their throats; bloody. A tween trying to create content for his streaming channel organizes "bum fights," offering $20 to two unhoused men to get into a fistfight. He also sets a man's hat on fire while he's sleeping. A teen girl bullies a girl who seems to be suffering from extreme social anxiety, and manipulates her into meeting up with her and her friends before forcing her to interact with the monster. Talk about suicide in a classroom. Teen blackmails teacher with threats of sharing footage of when the teacher was in college at a fraternity party, shown smoking weed and also drinking beer out of another woman's vagina. Jump scares. Teen boy inadvertently spies on his female friend while she's in her bedroom stripping down to her underwear.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Kissing and groping between a teen boy and girl. A dad implies that his son has been masturbating. A bratty tween tells his male friend to "get the sand out of your vagina."
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Teens use strong language, engage in verbal bullying and insults. "F--k," "bulls--t," "a--hat," "s--t," "d--k," "pissed," "crappy," "bitch," "damn," "ass."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A man offers a girl a beer (she turns it down). Teen is told to "get off the weed!" -- not shown getting high. Teen blackmails teacher by threatening to release old footage of the teacher while in college at a fraternity party smoking weed and then drinking beer from another woman's vagina.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Where the Scary Things Are is a 2022 horror movie in which a group of teens discover a monster and use it to make viral videos of bloody murder. These teens aren't likable at all, and get up to some bad behavior even before they discover the monster. The tween of the group, the one with the camera, makes "bum fight" videos of unhoused men getting into fistfights in exchange for money. He's shown setting a homeless man's hat on fire while the man is asleep. He also uses his camera to secretly film close-ups of girls' behinds. The teens are known for doxing students and teachers, and one teen blackmails a teacher by threatening to post old footage of her at a frat party smoking weed and drinking beer out of another woman's vagina. The female of the group bullies a teen girl who seems to suffer from extreme social anxiety. The adults aren't much better -- including the boyfriend of the teen girl's mom, who offers the teen beer and behaves in a creepy manner toward her. A father makes reference to his son masturbating. Language is heard throughout, including "f--k." In addition to all of this content, there's talk of suicide, a scene in which a teen boy spies on his teen female friend while she's in her room undressing (no nudity), and of course the horror movie violence. The monster attacks its victims in the throat -- there's blood, some gore. The movie also has gunshots and shooting deaths. There's some kissing and groping as teens seem to be on the verge of having sex before they're interrupted by the story's action. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This is a teen supernatural horror movie that wears its influences on its blood-drenched sleeves. Where the Scary Things Are is a low-budget horror that comes across as a little too on the nose in its nods to similar stories from the past and present of teens getting into deadly trouble. While it's common for directors to give winks, nods, and tips of the cap to their influences, they also take those influences and make them their own. This movie doesn't quite achieve anything original -- and the closest it gets is making the teens so thoroughly unlikable they're not even entertaining. That said, this proves why teens in movies like these are usually "scrappy" or "misfits" instead of the bullies in this one.
It's an attempt to make a comment on how the internet is changing how we interact and empathize (or don't empathize) with others, and the lengths some will go to in order to find internet fame. Fair enough, but the characters are annoying and the story is uneven, so most viewers won't even notice the attempted message.
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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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