A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Chambers is a horror series centered on a teenage girl who goes through an unexpected medical trauma with strange and scary aftereffects. There are lots of hospital-based scenes, scenes of blood being drawn and medication being administered. Mental health issues portrayed and discussed include anxiety disorders, hysterical pregnancy, panic attacks, and suicidal ideation. Alcohol is consumed in party settings by adults and teens, and substance abuse issues (a character is a recovering heroin addict) are discussed. A character has frequent hallucinations and dreams (or are they?) of graphic and gory things happening to herself and others: ripping away her own skin, people dying via electrocution, some animal cruelty including a mouse's tail being chopped off. The lead character has a heart attack while getting ready to lose her virginity; there are several makeout scenes and some scenes featuring a female character topless.
What's the story?
CHAMBERS is a female-centered horror series from producer Uma Thurman (who also stars) that's centered on Sasha Yazzie (Sivan Alyra Rose), a Native American teenager growing up in a working-class town in Arizona, whose life is upended when she has a massive and unexpected heart attack while in the throes of passion with her boyfriend. Her gruff but loving guardian, Uncle Frank (Marcus LaVoi), is beyond relieved when a last-minute heart transplant becomes available -- a heart from the newly deceased daughter of Nancy LeFevre (Thurman) and her husband, Ben (Tony Goldwyn, in his first post-Scandal role), a wealthy New Age-type couple from nearby Crystal Valley. As Sasha tries to recover from surgery and gain her footing in the world again, she finds herself experiencing terrifying hallucinations and developing inexplicable new personality traits -- traits that seem all too familiar to the grieving LeFevre family, who seem suspiciously anxious to form a connection with the girl who now houses their dead daughter's heart.
Is it any good?
The "possessed organ transplant" subgenre of horror isn't a new one; from Body Parts to The Eye, it's well-trod ground, and this series doesn't offer much in the way of surprises. It's a shame, since the contrast here between the haves (the LeFevre family in Crystal Valley, with their daily yoga sessions and private schools that boast a "nap room" students can go to when they feel "triggered") and the have-nots (public-school attending "bad student" and aspiring nail salon owner Sasha, raised in dingy Cottonwood by her Uncle Frank, who scrapes by running a pet store) should have lent itself to some interesting explorations regarding privilege, family bonds, and grief. Instead, Chambers mainly offers a gloomy tone punctuated by occasional gory freakouts, and way too slow a pace. This story easily could have been condensed to five or six episodes instead of 10 and would have been much the better for it. The show does serve up some pleasing cinematography -- it was filmed in New Mexico, which features refreshingly different scenic vistas than your typical horror series -- but between the spotty writing and the sluggish pace, it mainly feels bloated and blah.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about other films and shows they have seen that feature people who receive an organ transplant that turns out to be "possessed" or "haunted" in some way. How many examples can you think of besides Chambers? What do you think makes this concept such a popular idea in horror?
Do you like to feel scared? Is there a difference between watching something scary and experiencing fear in real life? Try to describe it.
For kids who love scary stuff
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.