The Exorcism parents guide: Does the power of horror compel your kiddos?

The Exorcism is now playing in theaters, but is the supernatural movie appropriate for kids? 
The Exorcism - Fred Norris/Lightsavior Productions, LLC
The Exorcism - Fred Norris/Lightsavior Productions, LLC /

Russell Crowe stars in The Exorcism, which premiered in theaters earlier his month on June 21, 2024. Not to be confused with Crowe's 2023 horror The Pope's Exorcist (the guy just really enjoys the genre), The Exorcism also stars Adrian Pasdar, Sam Worthington, Chloe Bailey, Adam Goldberg, and others. But this may not be the summer family movie you're looking for, even if the theme of your family movie night is horror.

The Exorcism follows Crowe as Anthony Miller, a once-great actor struggling to get his good reputation back after falling into addiction. Just when Miller appears to be doing better, he books a role in a supernatural horror. While filming the project, Miller begins to behave erratically. His loved ones fear that Miller has relapsed, having no idea of the truth that there is something much more sinister going on.

For most parents, not allowing their young children to watch The Exorcism is a no-brainer. But hey, perhaps your kid has watched a light horror feature or two and you are looking for a movie to kick horror up a notch. Or maybe you have an older teen who isn't easily spooked, but they have certain triggers. Whatever the case may be, I'm not here to judge! I'm only here to break down the movie's age rating so you know what to expect.

The Exorcism Parents Guide: Explaining the R age rating

Your first sign that this is not a movie for young audiences? Its R rating. The Exorcism is rated R for language, some violent content, sexual references, and brief drug use. Just from the rating description, it doesn't seem like a huge deal. But let's look at each category to see just how strong the sexual references are and if the violent content will cause nightmares.

Sex and Nudity: There is no nudity in the movie and no sex. The movie does feature some brief kissing and sexual references, but most will go over young kid's heads. Trigger warning: There is strong dialogue about the sexual abuse of a minor.

Violence: Adults may handle all of the jump scares just fine. Your little one? Not so much! And even older kiddos may find themselves startled. If the jump scares don't do it, the bloody violence will do the trick! From head-slamming to light gore, the violence is not appropriate for young eyes.

Language: Almost every naughty word in the book is said in The Exorcism throughout the movie. Nothing you want your kids repeating when they go back to school after summer break.

Drinking and Drugs: The drug use and drug references in the movie are brief, but present throughout. After all, The Exorcism is about a recovering addict. There's smoking, alcohol use, and prescription medicine abuse.

Overall Verdict: What age is The Exorcism appropriate for?

Again, I'm no expert and only you know your kiddo best! However, I can't say I recommend the movie to anyone under 16 years old. And even at this age, I think it's best to watch the movie with them for reassurance and for you to be there if they have any questions or begin to feel uncomfortable. But really, it's not worth it! If you want to kick horror up a notch with your teen, go watch The Watchers, also in theaters.

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