What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this movie isn't for kids. It features gruesome (and, once it begins, relentless) violence implemented by knives, rifles, and brutal beatings. Characters drink and smoke cigarettes (at least until they are attacked by the killer); one couple kisses briefly. On the road, they use filthy gas station bathrooms. Girls scream, escape, fight back, and scream again. Alarming images include bloody faces, threats of rape, bound limbs, gags, blood smears on floors and walls, and a graphic description (with shadowy visual demonstration) of a torture method by which the killer severs a girl's spine but leaves her conscious (he calls it "head on a stick," and says it was practiced in the Vietnam war).
- Families can talk about the random violence wreaked by an implacable, inexplicably cruel killer. This film takes up a "vintage" aesthetic, recalling low-budget, '70s horror films: what are the appeals of this look and associated class politics (middle class victims, underclass/demented/monstrous killers)? Families can also discuss what it means for a scary movie like this to be based on "actual" events. Do teens believe what they see really happened?