Common Sense Media says

Notorious case inspires dark, sinuous thriller.

Users say

(out of 25 reviews)
age 14+
Review this title!
Adult Written bykelsodoggie April 9, 2008
Adult Written byGerard1 April 9, 2008

Good for 15 and older ONLY.

15 and up!
Adult Written bykoolmoviebuzzy April 9, 2008

It was iffy.

This movie is very viotent for younger teens. It also says a curse word about every minute of the movie. I would not let you kid see it unless you have a talk with your kid before he or she see's Zodiac. There was also a part with Pornoagraphy. It is a good movie for adults not kids.
Teen, 15 years old Written byWay2Dramatic April 9, 2008

A good thriller!

This movie is long, and most of it is talking. It is not a slasher movie: it's a smart psychological thriller. It wasn't as violent as it's made out to seem; there's only three or four scenes that are violent and they are very graphic. Also a lot of tension. But they are only for about a total of 10 minutes of the movie. The rest of the violence is discussed rather than shown. They did use the f-word about 10+ times, but not as much as other movies I've seen. The one guy (played by Robert Downey, Jr. Coincidence?) is an alcoholic and druggie. But this movie is good and if your kids can understand what's going on and can handle violence, they should be fine, unless they scare eaisly, because this was based on true events.
Adult Written byBub R. December 6, 2016

Just wait for it...

This movie demands patience. It demands you sit through long conversations and little, needling technicalities. Every scene is crucial; nothing is wasted and nothing can be done away with. Everything is in the right place, and it is there for a reason. Because of this meticulous construction, any person with any kind of appreciation for film will have no problem with sitting through the conversations and the technicalities. They will be patient, and in most cases they will enjoy it. Every scene adds a layer of bizarre anxiety -- and I say bizarre because it's like nothing I've ever felt in a movie before. The anxiety is visceral. It's something felt at the very core of one's emotional foundation. The fact that Fincher pulled such emotional manipulation off simply astounds me. In almost every scene -- besides perhaps two, and I'll talk about one of those in a minute -- there is no peril for our lead cast of characters. It's cracking codes, worming through clues and watching weeks turn to months, and eventually to years. So the tension is not in the actual plot of the story, which is slightly unusual for a police procedural. And now you're most likely asking, "where is the tension then?" Here is the answer: the characters. The case defines the characters; obsession grips all three leads, particularly Robert Graysmith, played by the always excellent Jake Gyllenhaal. Each of the character arcs are superbly written, and relationships are made and broken by the obsession that consumes the characters -- obsession that in one particular case falls in rags, giving way to hopelessness and the drunk, houseboat bound life of a degenerate. Watching the characters sober and come so close, only to inevitably fall short is a real experience. There are a few exceptionally brilliant scenes, and I alluded to one of them earlier. That scene is the the infamous basement scene. Most people with knowledge of Finchers work knows about this scene, and it is not so well known for no reason. It comes with a potential revelation, hope that perhaps the killer that Graysmith has been hunting for the last two hours of the movie has finally been tracked down. And this intrigue is central to the scene. I won't go on any further. If you haven't seen the movie, I encourage to find the rest out for yourself, and if you have seen it, then you already know all else there is to tell about this masterclass in scene construction, shot composition, and character development. And there is so much more to tell. This scene is fantastic. Utterly flawless, and so marvelously nail-biting. The next scene I want to highlight is the true cadence of the film. Everything leads up to this moment, and the long, long wait finally rewards the viewer in one, devastating moment. And that's all it is -- a moment. A calm, calculated moment. There are no flying bullets. There is no loud wild music. There is no great chase. A man walks into a hardware store and then leaves moments later, after a marvelously foreshadowed, but extremely simple event that I can't give away. Again, if you've seen the movie, you know what I'm going on about, and you know just how effective the little moment is, and how it just wraps everything together. The understated nature of this climax amplifies the point I made earlier as well; the tension is in character, not plot. Any other scene would not have truly enclosed everything that the film had established, and in my opinion, this is one of the best crests of a story line ever written, finding competition only in Fincher's other masterpiece of a police procedural Se7en. Zodiac is one of the few gems of cinema made in recent years. Fincher is so often described as meticulous and calculated that it has almost become tiresome, but his man truly does direct his material like a razor blade. Clean, sharp, and precisely placed. He lets nothing slip in Zodiac. He lets nothing feel rushed, dragged, and despite the run time, it never overstays its welcome. It truly is nothing short of perfect.
Teen, 13 years old Written byCharlieRoome August 25, 2016

Zodiac is a good film but requires a mature viewer

Violence - 3/5 Some of the killings are shown and they can be quite violent but it is never too 'strong'. Sex/nudity - 0/5 None Language - There is some uses of 'f*ck' in the movie Drinking, Drugs and smoking - 1/5 There is drinking and characters are shown drunk. Steven Avery smokes often and is a drunk Frightning/intence scenes - 4/5 The film could be considered frighning by some as it deals with the theme of a man killing for 'pleasure'
Teen, 13 years old Written byiwouldtrustme13 August 27, 2014

iwouldtrustme3

well this is one of the best thrillers ever one big roller coster ride it bulids intensity then drops down and you start putting the pieces togeather i say mature 14 yes some language and violence but not overly graphic but over all one good movie
Teen, 14 years old Written bye.a May 31, 2014
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 17 years old Written bydavyborn April 1, 2012

A more thoughtful David FIncher depicts the obsession of crime

Zodiac, is a film that was made by David Fincher, the great director who has made several other great movies, such as Seven, The Game, Fight Club, Panic Room, The Social network and even the 2011 version of the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Now, David FIncher is known for his usual dark subject matter, and Zodiac most certainly has it, but what is missing here from many of his others films, is the over complicated sense of violence, brutality and savageness. I am not saying hat this is even his best film, because it definitely is not, but I am saying that this may actually be his most thoughtfully, careful film. He avoided a lot of flashy visual tricks that made Fight Club such a brilliant cerebral masterpiece, he avoided the gruesome twists and turns and the stomach-churning conclusion that he depicted in Seven, and he even kept the pace fairly relaxed and not frantic, unlike Panic Room. And, speaking of the pace, and considering that this film is 157 minutes long, it really does keep the whole thing casual, letting the great performances of Jake Gyllenhaal and Robert Downey Jr., who become so obsessed with the infamous 60's and 70's Zodiac killing in San Francisco, that there whole live become based on finding the man responsible for the crimes. So, as good as it is, this is a fairly solid R Rating: There is infrequent but strong violence, including several scenes of the zodiacs innocent victims being brutally killed, with shots to the had and brutal stabbings and always with lot's of blood. Also fairly disturbing, are several scenes of the killer just plainly stalking innocent people, which may also be a bit much for younger audiences. Also, there is frequent drug and alcohol use, with several characters frequenting bars, and drinking occasionally to the point of inebriation. And,finally,. there is moderate but strong profanity, as well, including several uses each of f--k, sh-t, hell, g-dd-mn, christ, jesus, screw and crap. So, if you are a David Fincher fan, and you have enjoyed his previous entries, or maybe you are just interested in the infamous Zodiac killings, than I think this is definitely worth a watch. Reccomended.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 15 years old Written byellie April 9, 2008

boring

this was the most boring 'horror' movie i've ever seen. kids, fear not, you'll fall asleep anyway.
Teen, 14 years old Written byemoboizryummy April 9, 2008

no ur kids... i loved it

okay so I ABSOLUTELY LOVE THIS MOVIE! Not for horror or suspence, but because it is well made. I am a huge horror fan, violence and language could offend some people, I would say if ur kid is under fifteen watch the movie first/ know your kid really well.
Kid, 10 years old April 9, 2008

I'm 10 and I loved it.

Zodiac is a spectacular film that deserves an Oscar nomination.It does have voilence in it for example the Zodiac killer sneaks in back of a taxi driver and shots him in the head when the driver pulls over.You don't see very much blood.Another example is that a couple is stabbed to death.Language is another issue.Words like the f word the s word and the c word are used.Achol and drugs are used.Robert Downey Jr (who plays Paul Avery)always hangs out in a bar and drinks.He also smokes more than a normal smoker does.Later on he has an oxygen tank connected to his mouth.Commercialism is used in the movie (from what I remember) They commercialis diffrent 1960's 1970's items.I think it is a great movie.It is pretty complicated for kids but i'm smart and i got the point.If you have not seen it rent it.
Adult Written bySam Marrick March 17, 2016

Mesmerized by a Killer

The film dosnt examine what makes a serial killer and it is not about that. It is how people go about dealing with thier fear of such killers and how that affects the authorities' hunts for such monsters. While very slow and talky, every scene bleeds a growing snese of unrest and forcefull removal from our confort zone. This slow pacing alows us to feel the descent into hysteria in great detail and allows us to contemplate of every aspect of the characters lives tht will be affected by this phenomenon. Scenes building up to the killings, especially one involvibg a single movie with a newborn who breaks down on a dark highway with only one other character, are as unnerving as they are poetic and empathetic. Another standout scene is one with Gyllenhaal in a basement of a supposedly accomplice of the killer and you can just feel the environment closing in. The cast is underatated yet magnetic and thiwr interconnecting stories blend subtly but effectively. There are 3 scenes of actual killings, one is somehwat graphic and involves gunshots with some blood getting over the interior of a car, one is brief with multiple stabbings with some blood amd one os a shooting in a very dark setting with some slow motion blood spray. 15 F words.
Adult Written byBestPicture1996 January 24, 2015

Fincher's in his element with dark murder mystery

"Zodiac," not a huge success upon its release, is classic Fincher, except a little more toned down in terms of violence and language from his superior sophomore effort "Se7en." The movie tracks two things: the San Francisco Zodiac serial killer case and the effect it has on three men, though Robert Downey Jr.'s character Paul Avery disappears by the second hour of the film, as Avery himself resigned himself from the case early. The movie does have some sensational violent scenes, but for the most part it's a lot of talking and investigating, but it never moved at a glacial pace. It was exciting to track Jake Gyllenhaal's characters descent into obsession, an obsession he recognized but still couldn't pull himself away from, and Ruffalo, whose ideas and actions keep getting thwarted time after time. There are some really intense and creepy moments in this movie, and even with its admittedly long length, it's still a fascinating procedural with great acting from the duo of leads, and an uneasy turn from John Carroll Lynch.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Educator and Parent of a 2 and 3 year old Written byMommaOfTwoo July 25, 2014

yikes!

I'm 25 years old and this movie terrified me, I can't imagine letting a teen or younger watch it. This is an event that actually happened, it would give kids nightmares to think about.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Teen, 16 years old Written bycassiep August 15, 2013

Fine for mature kids

Very interesting movie based on true events. Another great film by David Fincher.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Educator and Parent Written byCandycanesara August 6, 2013

No gore, just thrills!

If you're looking for a horror/thriller movie but don't want that gory stuff, this is a great movie. Yes, I did mark "violence" as one of the things families should know about but the *only* violent scene is in the beginning and it's that scene alone would only be a 2 on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the worst) on gore as it's just blood splatter from gunshots. The entire scene lasts probably about 3-5 minutes but the violence is only about 2 seconds at most. After that, the rest is all thrills. Sure, they talk about violence, but none of it happens (or is even implied). For example (*spoiler*), there is a scene where the killer tells the newspaper that he's going to shoot at a school bus and kill the kids as they step out from the bus but that never happens. In fact, the killer even laughs about them believing him about that later, as he had no intentions of ever doing that. (*end spoiler*). It's probably a better movie for the older audience only because of puzzles and mystery that younger kids wouldn't understand, but as for what actually happens, I don't think there really is an age limit.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Parent Written byK5mom4 February 15, 2013

"Wisdom or Unknown"

This I feel is a movie that should be watched as a family. Children and teens seem to feel that unreasonable sense of security, nothing can hurt them. Knowledge and importance of realizing "THIS IS OFTEN A REALITY". We have serial rapists, killers, gangs and many other things that now put our children at risk for loss of life. If no one is in constant observation of their surroundings and so called red flags. Maintaining strong values, leadership, honesty, teaching, open communication and loving parents. This does happen. Many are never caught. This is an awesome movie and example to use to teach. This is reality. This is history. History is taught for a purpose, not just to remember times, years, dates, events and people. It is there to gain wisdom. A class many do not realize is one of the most important classes ever taught. For each event brought forth, you are shown a pattern of events. If you had a good result, then no need for change. However, if the pattern was not a positive result! Time to take notes, research, find out what happened and cause the failure. Then gain wisdom. Make sure as far in your life, your attempts and if at all possible you will not allow this type of event to happen again. This is what knowledge I learned from this and this is why I have chose to seek find this movie. I've shared with not only my children in early teens, but also other family members. Wisdom, good decision making skills, learning to take notice of your surroundings. All very validated necessities for life. I see posts referring to language, violence, drugs, alcohol, and such...HONESTLY... If you watch the news most evenings, you see much more. On any high school campus you will find most of this. Listening to your teens music or public radio stations, it's there. There are many cartoons now NOT CHILD INTENDED. Who only knows what happened to prime time air show guidelines. However, in this a lesson can be learned...key word "WISDOM"
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Kid, 11 years old April 22, 2011

Loved ittt.

The zodiac killer case was so intresting, nice to see a movie about it!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Adult Written byMovieLover4Lyfe May 29, 2010
I make it a point to never watch scary movies based on real life events. They just make me positively SCARED. The only one I've ever viewed was the Texas Chainsaw Massacre and I had nightmares for weeks. That being said, I think that this movie would be good for the oldest teens and adults. I've heard it's very well made too.
What other families should know
Too much violence

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