Lisa Frankenstein Parent Guide
The dismemberments and general gore are a bit much for a PG-13 film, but this horror comedy somehow remains its lighthearted vibe.
Parent Movie Review
1989 in America is as good a time as any to be a reclusive high-school misfit. After the tragic murder of her mother, Lisa’s (Kathryn Newton) father married Janet (Carla Gugino) and moved in. Lisa’s relationship with Janet is rough from the start, although new step-sister Taffy (Liza Soberano) seems to be making a real effort.
The challenges of bereavement and new step-relatives along with the joys of moving and changing schools in her senior year are taking their toll on Lisa. In fact, she’s been spending most of her time at the old 19th century Bachelors’ Graveyard, reading and daydreaming about a simpler life with one of its residents, notable for his handsome headstone. A freak storm soon gives Lisa what she wants – a shambling, speechless Creature (Cole Sprouse), freshly reanimated and ready to live again. The only problem is that his time underground has caused some serious decay, and a good bit of his body is out of order. It’s not like you can just pick up a new hand at the local hardware store, but Lisa is determined to help her oldest and moldiest friend if she can – but where to get the spare parts?
Despite the heavy-sounding plot, Lisa Frankenstein is a pretty lighthearted horror/comedy, and the comedy drives a lot more of the story than the horror. If anything, the horror only serves as a gruesome accent to the jokes. Now, if you can’t find the laughs in teenagers being occasionally dismembered, then this isn’t going to be the film for you no matter what else I tell you. Feel free to turn back now.
For those of you who enjoy your wit seasoned with a touch of the macabre, what you’ll got underneath the mild carnage is what I’d call a “diet movie”. It has most of the original taste, but it’s just not quite the same thing – and I don’t actually mind all that much, truth be told. I mean, Lisa Frankenstein has its troubles, to be sure, but I didn’t find them too irritating. I think the profoundly un-serious approach to the story is exactly the lift this movie needed to stay off the ground (and out of the graves).
That said, the film still serves up some pretty intense content for a PG-13 film, and I suspect some parents would find that rating overly lenient. As mentioned, the film features some (mostly offscreen) dismemberments (and re-attachments), including what I’ve described in my notes as a “d*ckapitation” – which is obviously the largest concern here. There’s also some teen drinking, a sprinkling of swearing, and a very skeezy teenage boy trying to pressure an intoxicated girl into sex – for which he pays a heavy price, rest assured.
For the teen target audience, Lisa Frankenstein provides a heavy dose of negative content and parents will definitely want to think twice before selecting this option. Adult genre fans looking for some quirky, easy-going horror comedies with a splash of 80’s goth aren’t likely to find that particular combination anywhere else.
Directed by Zelda Williams. Starring Kathryn Newton, Liza Soberano, Cole Sprouse. Running time: 101 minutes. Theatrical release February 9, 2024. Updated February 9, 2024
Watch the trailer for Lisa Frankenstein
Rating & Content Info
Why is Lisa Frankenstein rated PG-13? Lisa Frankenstein is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for violent content, bloody images, sexual material, language, sexual assault, teen drinking and drug content.
Violence: People are killed with blunt objects, axes, and faulty electrical equipment. A character commits suicide. Various appendages are removed from dead bodies and grafted to another person.
Sexual Content: There are several moments of sexual innuendo. A teen character attempts to sexually harass and grope another, who is severely intoxicated. Teen characters are seen in bed together, although no direct sexual activity is seen. A character’s genitals are cut off, although graphic anatomical detail is not seen.
Profanity: The script contains two sexual expletives and frequent use of mild curses and terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Teen characters are seen drinking socially. A character is unwittingly dosed with a hallucinogenic drug.
Page last updated February 9, 2024
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The film shares a little with Freaky, also starring Kathryn Newton. If it’s retro 80s horror comedy you’re after, you can take a look at Totally Killer. Other throwback horror/comedy options include Edward Scissorhands, My Best Friend’s Exorcism, and There’s Someone Inside Your House.