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 this is a dark and ultimately tragic tale involving college-age friends on spring break. Violence and sex (from roofie-assisted rape to a student-teacher affair) play heavily into the plot, and while there's neither much blood nor actual nudity, viewers do see murder, death, simulated sex and masturbation, and suggested nudity. Characters use sexual slang like "titties," "morning wood," "knobber," and "full-blown Stallone," in addition to words like "douche" and "bitch." There's also implied binge-drinking, along with characters who smoke pot.
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What's the story?
On their way back to campus after a spring break ski trip, college friends Jenna (Gillian Zinser), Ethan (Reid Ewing), Dante (Nick Thurston), and Liam (Rick Mabe) have an accident on the ice and find themselves buried alive in their vehicle under a mound of tightly packed snow. As each character begins to reveal shocking secrets, THE TRUTH BELOW the surface proves much more frightening than the group's deadly predicament.
Is it any good?
For a television movie, The Truth Below is surprisingly effective, thanks in large part to disturbing content that keeps you interested … not so much in the sometimes-sickening scenarios that play out, but rather in how much worse they'll actually get. But parents should consider themselves warned: The same content that might morbidly fascinate an adult could also give impressionable teens some seriously warped ideas when it comes to sex and human behavior.
While we don't want to give too much away, we do feel the need to mention that one of the characters' secrets involves him masturbating with a pair of his sister's underwear and, in turn, imagining having sex with her. His confession rightly disturbs his friends, but that's only the beginning of their increasingly deadly game and the "truths" that rise to the surface.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the roles that sex and violence play in these characters' lives, particularly in their darkest secrets. Is there a relationship between the severity of each character's secret and what happens to them in the end? What message does that send about bad behavior and negative consequences?
What are the real-life consequences of binge drinking and drug use? Does the movie downplay them to any degree?
If you ever found yourself in a smiliar situation, how would you react? What would you have done differently to ensure your survival? Could these characters have made better choices from the start to produce a different outcome?