Monsterland

TV review by
Marty Brown, Common Sense Media
Monsterland TV Poster Image
Monster anthology light on monsters, heavy on sex, violence.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Monsterland is about processing trauma and grief, though things rarely work out well for the characters.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Characters in Monsterland are typically persevering through great adversity when we meet them, but don't necessarily make moral or ethical choices throughout each episode.

Violence

Monsterland uses violence to shock and upset the audience in a wide variety of ways: a teenage girl is forcefully drowned, a man cuts someone's face off with a knife, a man assaults a small child, a child appears covered in blood, etc.

Sex

Monsterland features various forms of sexual content: a woman appears in her underwear, a man and woman shower together, teens attempt a home abortion, etc.

Language

Profanity includes "f--k," "s--t," bitch," "p---y," etc. 

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters smoke cigarettes and drink alcohol. No drug use is shown.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Monsterland is an eight-part drama anthology series that uses horror tropes and set-ups to explore human struggles and topical issues. It's framed as a "monster-of-the-week" type of show, but monsters actually play a smaller role than expected. Episodes instead focus on people who are struggling with issues like grief, trauma, illness, and poverty. The show features a wide variety of violence and sexual content. A teenage girl is forcefully drowned, a man cuts someone's face off with a knife, a man assaults a small child, teens attempt a home abortion, a woman appears in her underwear, a man and woman shower together, and more. Profanity is frequently used, including the "F" word and misogynisitic uses of "bitch" and "p---y." Episodes often end abruptly, so that consequences of the character's violent or amoral actions are not seen. Monsterland is being promoted as part of Hulu's Halloween programming, but it has very little in common with the horror genre or monster movies. Instead, it's an extremely bleak drama with some mild sci-fi elements.

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What's the story?

Each episode of MONSTERLAND takes place in a different community in America. Supernatural encounters with werewolves, vampires, and other mythical creatures compel struggling characters to make drastic choices in their own lives, even if it means unleashing the monster within.

Is it any good?

Modern horror movies often use their monsters as a metaphor for day-to-day struggles, like overcoming grief and trauma. Monsterland takes the opposite approach. Everyday struggles are the main focus of the anthology series, while monsters take on an elusive, metaphorical role. Sometimes you barely see them at all. So, while Monsterland promises a sort of horror anthology version of, say, Black Mirror, it doesn't really deliver any spooky delights, scary creatures, or anything someone would reasonably expect from a Halloween show. Instead, the viewer is mostly left with an incredibly bleak vision of contemporary America, inspiring way more dread than fright.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about monsters. What are your favorite monsters or monster stories? What do you like about them? What do you expect from a good monster story?

  • What monsters appear in Monsterland? How do these monsters compare to monsters you typically see featured in other scary stories? 

  • How does Monsterland incorporate or address current events or issues in America? How does it use monsters to explore these areas? Do you think each episode has a point of view or opinion on these issues? If so, what is it? 

  • Do any characters behave like monsters in your opinion? If so, how does the character's behavior compare to what you would expect from a monster story? What do you think the show is trying to say?

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love scary stuff

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