Is ‘Skull Island’ Too Scary for Your Kids?

Skull Island, the latest King Kong remake, is a PG-13-rated retro action-adventure thriller. It’s set in the ’70s with a soundtrack to prove it along with numerous references to Apocalypse Now. Although those things may entertain parents (and grandparents), it won’t really register with kids. They’ll be too riveted (or terrified) by the monsters and the battles they wage with each other as well as the humans on screen, including Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson and Michael C. Reilly.

As expected, the movie goes another round of the People vs. the ferocious Kong, this time on an island where he may not be the scariest foe they face. This Kong, like those before him, may actually have a soft heart, but that doesn’t stop him from his fair share of skull-crushing. Is it too violent for your kids? Here’s what parents need to know.

Positive themes: The value of teamwork is emphasized and characters demonstrate how courage and working together can help save the day. The movie also considers the questions: What makes an enemy? What is worth fighting for?

Violence/scare factors: The carnage is rampant and includes numerous bloody deaths often featuring dismemberment. Victims are also crushed, stomped on and eaten. Kong is not the only violent perpetrator, there are also scary giant birds and reptiles who get in on the action.

Sex/romance: There are scenes set in a brothel with scantily clad women. Two of the main characters flirt with each other.

Bad language: There is one obligatory F-bomb along with a plentiful scattering of other “lesser” curse words.

Drinking/drugs/smoking: Characters drink in a bar.

Bottom line: Although younger kids attended (and reacted loudly) at a recent screening, the PG-13 rating is well-warranted due to the multiple scenes of bloody dismemberment. Preteens and even teens who are sensitive to violence may find this a challenging watch.

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