Imaginary parents guide

Imaginary Parent Guide

Staggeringly unoriginal, the movie's content is so heavily recycled it's almost impossible to remember.

Overall D

Theaters: A woman returns to her childhood home with her daughter and finds her old imaginary friend is still there, and not happy to have been abandoned.

Release date March 8, 2024

Violence C+
Sexual Content A
Profanity C-
Substance Use C

Why is Imaginary rated PG-13? The MPAA rated Imaginary PG-13 for some violent content, drug material and language.

Run Time: 104 minutes

Parent Movie Review

Although Jessica (DeWanda Wise) never thought she’d be a mother, life is full of surprises. Her new husband, Max (Tom Payne) comes with two daughters of his own: six-year-old Alice (Pyper Braun) and 15-year-old Taylor Taegen Burns). The four are moving into Jessica’s old childhood home, and Jessica hopes the familiarity will help her control the unpleasant nightmares she’s been having. She’s also looking forward to setting up a work pace where she can finish up her latest children’s book – but she’s going to have other work to do.

As it happens, Alice has made an imaginary friend, a stuffed bear named Chauncey. Jessica is happy to see Alice happy and smiling in her new home, but Chauncey’s games soon become cause for concern. Max is out of town for work, so it’s down to Jessica to keep her new family safe, and to find out why she remembers so little of her own childhood home.

Imaginary is one of those movies which manages to be so staggeringly unoriginal that it’s actually hard to remember. You’ve seen everything that happens in this film in other movies, and the constant familiarity is both boring and irritating. These evil-imaginary-friend movies are all functionally the same to start with, but this is a particularly soulless take on the genre. I almost fell asleep in the theater, truth be told, which takes some doing when you’re sitting five feet away from one of the speakers.

This production suffers from the usual Blumhouse Productions hyper-reliance on jump scares, but the timing on them always seems to be the same. If you’ve watched a few Blumhouse flicks, you can probably accurately predict every jump in this movie. Unless, of course, you have also been lulled into unconsciousness by the dreadful writing. Frankly, I would have welcomed a coma.

Unsurprisingly, the complete lack of interesting content gives the film some real drag, and it feels almost twice as long as it is. It’s not like there are any surprises here: you already know how it ends and you’re just waiting for the movie to catch up to you. In the meanwhile, it gifts you some mild blood and violence (mostly offscreen or alluded to in dialogue) and a light scattering of profanity, with a moment of attempted teen drug use. All in all, standard teen horror fare, from the Mad Libs script to the wooden acting.

Directed by Jeff Wadlow. Starring DeWanda Wise, Tom Payne, Veronica Falcón. Running time: 104 minutes. Theatrical release March 8, 2024. Updated

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Rating & Content Info

Why is Imaginary rated PG-13? Imaginary is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for some violent content, drug material and language.

Violence: Blood streams out from under doors. A pulled tooth is seen in a pair of pliers. A character suffers a broken ankle in a fall. A child attempts to stab herself with a rusty nail. There are references to self-harm and child abuse.
Sexual Content: None.
Profanity: There are three scatological curses and a single sexual expletive plus several uses of mild curses and terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: A teen character is seen trying to abuse prescription medication, although it turns out to be harmless allergy medication. Teen characters are also seen attempting to steal alcohol.

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Home Video

Related home video titles:

There are lots of horror movies with a child’s imaginary friend gone wrong, including titles like Z, Malignant, Come Play, and Brahms: The Boy II. Viewers looking for a more coherent experience might enjoy Coraline. Director Jeff Wadlow is also responsible for other crimes against cinema such as Truth or Dare, The Curse of Bridge Hollow, and Fantasy Island.