Rating: PG-13 for mature thematic material involving violence and disturbing sequences.
What it’s about: A child is possessed by a demon she unleashed from a box.
The kid attractor factor: A peer, a child, in peril, doing all sorts of things the demonically possessed do in movies.
Good lessons/ bad lessons: There’s something to be said in asking for expert help, but when the chips are down, you can always count on Dad.
Violence: A number of quite violent scenes, with some of that violence directed at children.
Language: Pretty tame for a PG-13.
Parents’ advisory: Too creepy for younger children, but pretty tame by horror standards — suitable for ages 10 and older.
Rating: R for strong bloody violence, language and some sexuality/ nudity.
What it’s about: Prohibition-Era moonshiners battle with the mob, which wants to control their business.
The kid attractor factor: Shia LaBeouf and Mia Wasikowska are star-crossed lovers in the middle of this.
Good lessons/ bad lessons: Proving you’re as tough as the other fellow could get you killed.
Violence: Lots of it, and much of it explicit and bloody.
Language: Quite a bit of profanity.
Sex: Implied rape and sexual abuse, nudity.
Drugs: Moonshine, and lots of it.
Parents’ advisory: Incredibly violent, and graphically so. Take the R-rating seriously. OK for ages 16 and older.
Rating: PG-13 for some violence, intense action sequences and language.
What it’s about: A gonzo bicycle messenger is chased by a crooked cop through the crowded streets of Manhattan.
The kid attractor factor: Attractive, muscular young people tearing through traffic in death-defying bike sprints.
Good lessons/ bad lessons: “Stay awake, stay alive." And don’t try this bike stuff at home.
Violence: Beatings, a shooting, and lots of bike accidents.
Language: A tiny bit of mild swearing, here and there.
Sex: Make-out sessions.
Parents’ advisory: As kid-friendly as thrillers get, this one is suitable for ages 11 and older.