Chupa Parent Guide
There's no avoiding the movie's low budget and clunky dialogue but it's still a sweet, sincere family film that will entertain kids while teaching some useful messages.
Parent Movie Review
Alex (Evan Whitten) is a first-generation Mexican American struggling to find his identity. He is bullied at school for being different and is distancing himself from his heritage in order to fit in. Convinced that her son needs to reconnect with his culture, his mom sends him on a trip to Mexico to stay with his grandfather (Demián Bichir) and cousins (Ashley Ciarra and Nickolas Verdugo).
While adjusting to the language and culture, Alex meets a young chupacabra who was separated from its family. While most people don’t believe in chupacabras, considering them to be mythical creatures an American scientist, Dr Quinn (Christian Slater), is on a mission to hunt one down to use its blood for medical research. Alex and his family decide to do whatever it takes to keep the creature, named Chupa, safe and return it to its family.
“Child finds magical creature and has to protect it” is a much-repeated story in cinema. This Netflix version doesn’t have anything new to add to the oft-told tale, and conscientiously follows the expected beats. Predictable though it may be, the story is sweet and earnest. There are messages around embracing your heritage, the importance of family, and the evils of greed. Alex is a relatable character as he grapples with his identity as a first-generation immigrant, and I think children in similar situations will gravitate towards his story.
I could harp on some of the clunky dialogue and subpar acting, but this film doesn’t claim to be anything more than a low budget family flick and it fulfills that purpose perfectly well. Parents should be aware of a little bit of minor profanity and some peril that could be scary to very sensitive viewers. Otherwise, Chupa is a perfectly serviceable adventure story with courageous kids and a cute critter that will entertain children and not annoy adults, which is something just as hard to find as a chupacabra!
Directed by Jonás Cuarón. Starring Demián Bichir, Evan Whitten, Christian Slater. Running time: 95 minutes. Theatrical release April 7, 2023. Updated April 6, 2023
Watch the trailer for Chupa
Rating & Content Info
Why is Chupa rated PG? Chupa is rated PG by the MPAA for some action, peril and thematic elements.
Violence: Lucha libre style wresting is seen on TV and some characters wrestle each other. A man kicks another man. A character uses a tranquilizer gun on an animal and threatens people and animals with a cattle prod. There are moments of mild peril.
Sexual Content: None.
Profanity: The script contains one mild profanity and three terms of deity. There is some mild name calling.
Alcohol / Drug Use: None.
Page last updated April 6, 2023
Chupa Parents' Guide
How does Alex reject and then embrace his heritage? How can being a new immigrant be difficult while trying to stay true to your culture while also fitting in to your new one?
Loved this movie? Try these books…
With both Spanish and English text on each page, Don’t Eat Me, Cupacabra! by Kyle and Derek Sullivan tells the story of a chupacabra with a prodigious appetite for goats. Heavy on pictures and light on text, this book is geared at young readers.
Elementary school readers who are curious about the legend of the chupacabra will appreciate What Do We Know About the Chupacabra? Written by Pam Pollack and Meg Belviso, the book was illustrated by Andrew Thomson. Older elementary students can also dig into Christine Ha’s Legendary Beasts: Chupacabra.
Related home video titles:
If you love the “kid finds and protects creature” genre, you can watch E.T. The Extra-terrestrial, How to Train Your Dragon, Pete’s Dragon, The Iron Giant, Lilo & Stitch, Flora & Ulysses, Clifford the Big Red Dog, The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep, and Lyle, Lyle Crocodile.