Z parents guide

Z Parent Guide

A coherent, low-budget horror movie that gets its screams from atmosphere and story rather than blood and gore.

Overall C-

When Elizabeth and Kevin Parsons hear about their son Joshua's imaginary friend, they aren't too concerned...until that "friend" starts getting hostile.

Release date December 25, 2019

Violence D
Sexual Content A
Profanity D
Substance Use B-

Why is Z rated Not Rated? The MPAA rated Z Not Rated

Run Time: 83 minutes

Parent Movie Review

Beth (Keegan Connor Tracey) and Kevin Parsons (Sean Rogerson) are living the suburban dream. Their son Josh (Josh Klyne), however, seems to be struggling - he’s picked up dozens of disciplinary notes from school, he’s been spending more time on his own, and he’s invented an imaginary friend who he calls Z. His parents decide it’s a phase and he’ll get over it, until Beth realizes that, not only is Z far more real than she thought, but she’s seen him before…

Anyone else remember a movie that came out earlier this year, called The Prodigy? With a few minor plot differences, this is basically the same story. The premise and most of the behavior for the first two acts are identical. Then the third act gets a little weird, and it throws the pacing right off. I’m all for the creativity displayed at the end, but I wish it had been better integrated with the rest of the film. As is, it feels like a strangely long addition to the film and makes the 83 minute runtime feel longer than it should.

Although this isn’t the most original horror movie, it is competently made. The tension is well managed for the most part, and the acting (although it starts a little rough) improves as the movie goes on. The filmmakers make the most of a small budget by hiding the monster for most of the movie, and it’s a good thing too - the few times you do see Z, the CGI is pretty rough. But this film does have something which other stock horror movies don’t, namely, the sense that everyone involved cared about the production. The primary advantage of smaller budget films like this is the sense that everyone involved did it because they wanted to, and not because the studio offered them millions of dollars to turn up.

Parental concerns are fairly limited. I only counted 8 profanities, there is little actual violence, and no sex to speak of. That said, the movie is pretty tense and frightening, so I definitely wouldn’t recommend this for children or anxiety-prone viewers. I have some respect for a horror flick that gets its screams by terrorizing the audience with atmosphere and hints rather than just flinging bloody, mangled corpses all over the place. The biggest irritant for me was the film’s insistence on pronouncing the letter “z” as “Zee”. This is a Canadian film, and ought to know better; it’s “Zed”.

Is this going to come up for any big awards? Is it going to become a cult classic? Probably not. Is it a decent way to spend an hour and a half? Sure. It holds its own decently well against larger budget movies - that is, as long as you don’t look directly at the CGI. Then it turns into a comedy.

Directed by Brandon Christensen. Starring Keegan Connor Tracy, Jett Klyne, and Sean Rogerson. Running time: 83 minutes. Theatrical release December 25, 2019. Updated

Z
Rating & Content Info

Why is Z rated Not Rated? Z is rated Not Rated by the MPAA

Violence: An individual is pushed from the top of a staircase and is seriously wounded, although nothing graphic is seen. A dead body is shown. Another dead body is shown with injuries and blood. Two individuals are shown hanged.
Sexual Content: An individual is shown from the shoulders up in a bath.
Profanity: Seven uses of scatological profanity and one use of the sexual expletive, as well as several terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: An individual is shown having a glass of wine. Another individual is implied to have been drinking to cope with a loss, although they are not shown drinking. Two individuals are shown smoking cigarettes

Page last updated

Z Parents' Guide

Beth and Kevin have to make some difficult parenting decisions, although they don’t seem to communicate well with each other. What do you think they should have done? Can you think of anything that would have fewer negative consequences?

Home Video

Related home video titles:

There are several horror movies that get their scares from atmosphere more than from gore. If you’re looking for a PG-13 horror film that doesn’t depend on blood to frighten you, you can try watching The Sixth Sense,

For R-rated films in this genre, you can watch The Prodigy, Us, or The Possession of Hannah Grace.