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Poltergeist Review

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Pause for kids 12 & under

One of the all-time great haunted house movies.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this movie touches on many things that are frightening to kids (and some adults), including scary shadows in the dark, monsters in the closet, and separation from family. A character rips the flesh from his face (though eventually we see he's hallucinating). A young boy is attacked by a ghost-inhabited tree. A girl is taken from her parents and held in a netherworld where she's menaced by a character it's intimated is evil. The parents are seen smoking marijuana, and are apparently regular users.

  • Families can talk about what makes this movie so scary. Are the effects, the ghosts and other things that you see, that are so frightening? Or is the situations?
  • Did you identify with the little girl who was taken away? What about the little boy attacked by a tree?
  • Did this movie make you think of the times when you were little that you thought there were monsters in the closet or under the bed?
  • Why do people like watching movies that frighten them?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: Despite frightening ghostly activity, the dedication the parents show to saving their children still stands out as positive.

  • rolemodels true0

    Role models: The children are brave and the parents committed to saving their family.

What to watch for
  • violence false2

    Violence: A character rips the flesh from his face (though eventually we see that he's hallucinating). A young boy is attacked by a ghost-inhabited tree. Near-constant sense of fear and peril.

  • sex false0

    Sex: Not applicable

  • language false2

    Language: Mild swearing.

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not applicable

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false2

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: The parents are seen smoking marijuana and are apparently regular users.

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