Hellboy

Hellboy, directed by the visual genius Guillermo Del Toro, is adapted from the Dark Horse comic book series of the same name. Due to the fact that it’s from the early 2000s, the cgi isn’t as fantastic as it could be, and we’ll see how the reboot of the series goes, but it still has a lot of Del Toro’s personal style when it comes to monster designs. To begin with, the introductory scene where the Allied forces try to stop the portal from opening, there are a few genuinely uncomfortable moments. For example, one of the characters is pulled into the portal, which is too small for his body at the time. Unfortunately, this means that his body is agonizingly compressed to fit into this tiny space. Throughout the movie, the various creatures, in spite of the early and imperfect cgi, do look genuinely frightening, and the idea of them harming a crowd at one point could be quite frightening. There’s also a bit of fridge horror at some points, such as the backstory of the main love interest involving her potentially burning a playground filled with children alive by mistake. Over all, many of the characters could be very troubling for younger or anxious viewers as well. For example, one of the followers of the main villain is a sawdust-filled, nazi samurai of sorts, who is near impossible to defeat. Most of the fear of the character comes with what we don’t see, as it’s implied most of his body has been completely altered by unknown and unseen experiments. The climax involves an eldritch being of a sort being summoned to earth, potentially destroying millions of lives in the process. Not to mention, the religious imagery, and the appearance of the main character may cause some severe discomfort for some. On the other hand, this is one of the best-looking superhero movies I’ve ever watched. Del Toro, as usual, has his own unique style that it’s very easy to admire. If you’re already a fan of the original comic series, or are interested in seeing a pretty cool-looking movie, I highly recommend it.

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Holes

Holes, remembered by many as a classic adaptation of the classic book, has is well-known for it’s compelling plot, and likable characters. As far as anxious moments, Disney takes a few more risks with this movie in order to keep it more faithful to the book. Included in this movie is the yellow spotted lizards, which could creep out younger viewers, especially due to the buildup to what they’re capable of. There’s also an extremely distressing scene that discusses late 1800s racism, which results in the murder of a character onscreen. A character also commits suicide onscreen by poisoning themselves with one of the lizards mentioned earlier. The theme of children suffering through the movie can be a little difficult to take as well, even with the overall happy ending. Overall, the film has very few scares throughout, and can be very safe for anxious viewers.

Fantastic 4 (2015)

Well, as strange as the original movie from the early 2000s was, this one somehow managed to be even stranger. The thing about modern superhero movies, which can sometimes be an issue, is that Fox seems very concerned with making their movies as dark as physically possible, both literally and figuratively. As far as potential triggers in this movie, I’d just like to start by saying, it never looks normal for Mr. Fantastic to have stretching powers, and it looks just as disconcerting in this movie as it always does. The cgi isn’t quite good enough to make it look normal, pushing it squarely into the uncanny valley. The stretching may make certain viewers very uncomfortable, as it reeks of body horror, and wouldn’t look out of place in a monster movie. Aside from that, due to how overly dull the movie is for the most part, there’s very little in the way of excitement up until the climax, where the villain of the movie, Dr. Doom, finally appears. He does kill several people using telekinesis onscreen, which can be a little jarring for some viewers, especially when you’ve been lulled into a false sense of boredom by everything else going on in the film. As far as I can tell, fortunately, the movie has very little in the way of anxiety-inducing moments, save for the extremely uncomfortable cgi stretching, and Dr. Doom’s introduction. However, I can’t exactly bring myself to recommend the movie either, as, in my opinion, it’s not really all that good. Which, honestly, is kind of a shame, since I remember really liking Fantastic 4 when I was a kid. I suppose it’s fine to watch if you want to give it a try, but it really lacks substance, and isn’t even worth seeing just to get freaked out by the rubber doll animation.

Coraline

Coraline, the stop motion movie adaptation of the classic Neil Gaiman book, is one of the single most horrifying PG movies I’ve ever seen. The film, following a young girl slowly becoming trapped in a magical world determined to destroy her. This film is filled with scary imagery which, depending on the type of child, may scare younger viewers. The movie doesn’t have any blood or gore, in it, but the themes of abduction and abuse prevalent throughout most of the movie may raise some uncomfortable feelings or memories for certain viewers. Not only that, but it also has quite a bit of body horror, including a character midway through a transformation into a pumpkin, a child character with their mouth stitched open into a forced smile, and two characters turned into putty and being mushed together. There is also a scene involving the ghosts of murdered children, which ramps up the intensity by including themes of child death to the story. Coraline is meant for children, but it is by far one of the most intense children films I’ve seen since Secret of Nimh. And at least that one didn’t actually kill any kids. However, while there are several scenes with uncomfortable situations and disturbing situations, the animation and story are both fantastic, with a compelling style. If you’re able to handle the darkness, I strongly recommend the film, especially if you want to see more from Nightmare before Christmas’ director, Henry Selick.

Kingsman: The Secret Service

The Kingsman movie, based on the comic series by the same name, has more than earned it’s R rating. The movie is extremely violent, involving many gory deaths ranging from being sliced in half, to head explosions, all of which is onscreen. The opening involves a very violent fight scene, followed by the earlier mentioned scene of a man getting sliced in half with a very distinct and gut-wrenching sound. A man has his head blown up, which later escalates into an entire montage of various people dying in such a way to classical music. The plot of the movie, without revealing too much, involves a ‘rage-virus’ of sorts through technology, that causes people to fall into a frothing rage, and indiscriminately attack anyone and everyone close by. The first time this happens, it’s inside a church which, though it’s filled with religious bigots, is still alarming in it’s gore and can be very overwhelming. The second time this happens, a mother tries to rip her way through a bathroom door to murder her infant child. Alongside all the carnage that’s already happening in the film, it can be a little much for people who have trouble with violence. The movie is extremely violent, and seems to take great relish in their well-earned R rating. I don’t recommend this movie, unless you’re prepared for the level of violence that’s to be expected. But, if you are, it can be genuinely enjoyable for the viewer, with a lot of clever jokes and downright enjoyable characters.

Power Rangers (2017)

As would be expected of a movie based on a show about people running around in spandex, the 2017 reboot of the Power Rangers series is pretty painless for people with anxiety. Most of the movie is pretty much nonviolent, with a few moments here and there that may catch the attention of concerned parents and anxious viewers. For example, the update of Rita Repulsa is distinctly more aggressive in this version. While it isn’t actually visible onscreen, there is a scene where she rips open a hobo’s mouth to get to the gold inside his mouth. It’s only shown in shadow, but the noises and graphic thoughts that would likely accompany it would be concerning to many. She also attacks a jewelry store, destroying the place in a very alarming and concerning way. Not to mention, a nightmare scene occurs that would definitely scare a younger child. Finally, the climax could be extremely scary to those who feel anxiety about crowd scenes. It’s a lot of carnage all happening at once. While the action is meant to be funny, it can be stressful trying to focus on everything that’s happening all at once. Overall, the Power Rangers movie takes a few more chances than what would be expected with a series like this, and there are quite a few moments that would cause alarm, but I overall feel it’s worth a view to see the new take on an old classic.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl

As what is to be expected of a Disney movie, even one covering something as historically bloody as piracy, is relatively safe for younger viewers, and those suffering from anxiety. The deaths in this film are generally not gory, but there is quite a bit of blood and creepy imagery. The villainous pirates of the film suffer from a curse that makes them appear as rotted zombies. It’s not as bad as it could be, considering the fact that they use early 2000s cgi instead of makeup, which would have been more jarring. However, it should be noted that the skeletal images could probably still scare younger viewers, or those who are not expecting it. The theme of the movie revolves around blood, and, as such, there are a few scenes where blood is present, but it’s not shown with excessive gore. Most of the skeleton characters who suffer from violence recover as cartoon characters would, simply by falling apart, or by cartoonishly losing their limbs. Overall, for a film about some of the bloodier members of history, Disney chose to take it in a very safe direction. Provided you’re expecting it, it could be a very enjoyable viewing experience.