The King Tide parents guide

The King Tide Parent Guide

This folk horror movie is attention-grabbing and contains relatively low levels of violence.

Overall C+

Theaters: Washed ashore on an island, young Isla proves to have unusual powers that make her incredibly valuable to the island's residents. (Canadian theaters only.)

Release date April 26, 2024

Violence C-
Sexual Content D
Profanity D
Substance Use C-

Why is The King Tide rated PG? The MPAA rated The King Tide PG

Run Time: 100 minutes

Parent Movie Review

Town mayor Bobby Bentham (Clayne Crawford) and his wife Grace (Lara Jean Chorostecki) are devastated by a tragic miscarriage. As fate would have it, a baby washes up on the shore shortly thereafter, and Bobby and Grace adopt her. But Isla (Alice West Lefler) isn’t like the other kids on the island…

Isla has the power to heal people just by being near them, and fish swarm to her when she goes in the water. Her abilities have always been treasured by the town, which has deliberately isolated itself from the mainland. Without Isla’s powers, that seclusion would be untenable. So when Isla starts losing her powers after a tragedy on the island, the locals begin to panic. Grace’s mother, Faye (Frances Fisher) has built up a lot of power by managing access to Isla, and she has plenty of ideas for how to keep that goose laying golden eggs. Bobby is worried about the demands being placed on his ten-year-old child, and the tension between him and the townsfolk is sure to end badly.

I was unenthused about the film after hearing the “girl with magic powers” premise, but mercifully this isn’t another dull superhero flick. The film is far more about politics in small communities and the potent nature of fear than it is about Isla’s abilities. What’s really at stake here has more to do with the soul of the town; how far people are willing to go to protect what they think of as their own – even when that is a living, breathing child. It’s a chilling story, and no less so because of how plausible it all feels. Apart from, you know, a magic ocean baby with phenomenal cosmic powers.

The cast give powerful performances, and against the incredibly rugged backdrop of Newfoundland and Labrador, the film is captivating. It’s also PG rated, with limited profanity and an absence of sexual content balancing against a bit of bloody violence (including a few homicides) and one character’s frequent drinking. But would this really be a small town without at least one guy with a drinking problem?

Ok, I’ll admit The King Tide isn’t exactly family viewing, but it’s certainly within tolerance for most adult audiences and some teens. I was muttering under my breath at some of the more infuriating characters. But they have to be that way, and the fact that the movie got me all shirted up is a sign of good writing and skilled acting. This is one of the more compelling thrillers I’ve seen in recent years – and I hope those remote Canadian communities spawn more folk horror tales to make my skin crawl.

Directed by Christian Sparkes. Starring Clayne Crawford, Francis Fisher, Alice West Lefler. Running time: 100 minutes. Theatrical release April 26, 2024. Updated

Watch the trailer for The King Tide

The King Tide
Rating & Content Info

Why is The King Tide rated PG? The King Tide is rated PG by the MPAA

Violence: Blood is seen on the floor after a miscarriage. Several individuals suffer small accidental cuts. Two characters are fatally poisoned, including a child. A number of characters are shot. Dead bodies are visible on screen. A good natured bareknuckle fight is seen.
Sexual Content: None.
Profanity: There are two uses sexual expletives, four scatological curses, and infrequent use of mild curses and terms of deity in the script.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Adult characters are seen drinking alcohol, sometimes to excess, and smoking tobacco.

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Other unsettling Canadian movies include Bright Hill Road, Come True, and Z.

Kids with unusual powers or abilities are key to The Sixth Sense, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, The Darkest Minds, Matilda, Sky High, and Shazam!

Small groups in confined locations are always a hotbed of bizarre behaviour – as in the mature-viewers-only The Wicker Man, Midsommar, 10 Cloverfield Lane, The Lighthouse, The Shining, The Lodge, or I’m Thinking of Ending Things.