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Parents' Guide to


By Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Flawed but effective, scary "imaginary friend" horror tale.

Movie NR 2020 83 minutes
Z Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 7+

Based on 1 parent review

age 7+


There is one part of the movie z Throughs a kid off the stairs and it gave me a horrible feeling.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (1 ):
Kids say (3 ):

Marred by a few gaps in character logic and behavior, this "imaginary friend" horror movie is nonetheless quite spooky thanks to its clever camera setups, sharp sense of timing, and startling music. Directed and co-written by Brandon Christensen, Z immediately comes across as brisk, skillful work, with a touching, soundless scene demonstrating Josh's isolation. As "Z" starts its reign of terror, the movie works largely with sudden shocks, but they're far more skillful and thoughtful than regular old jump scares. Christensen even uses some creaky old genre staples such as a boy staring blankly at an unseen wall, or a woman taking a bath in a tub surrounded by candles to unleash big scares.

One scene involving a staircase will make even the most jaded horror fans shriek. But the characters can be very frustrating. Kevin always seems two steps behind, and the things that he and Beth choose not to say to each other are baffling. Not to mention the strange reaction to Josh's being expelled (they take him to a huge indoor playground?) and the lack of concern over the grandmother's death and other troubling events. Even Dr. Seager, who seems to know what's going on, takes a long time to actually help out, although McHattie is always fun to watch. Moreover, Tracy is sympathetic as Beth, and Z on the whole is so technically shrewd and thrilling that it's definitely worth a look.

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