10 Scary but Family-Friendly Movies to Watch This Halloween

Bonus Suggestion: Wendell & Wild

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Rating: PG-13

Content Guide/Trigger Warnings

Where to Watch

Wendell & Wild is a good example of a movie that uses religious imagery in non-traditional ways but so irreverently that viewers can’t call it an anti-religious film.

The story sounds disturbing. Kat Elliott lost her parents in a car crash—an encounter with death that has given her extrasensory powers. Other characters describe the gift as making her a “Hell Maiden.” In the underworld (a strange world featuring a theme park called Scream Fair run by a giant demon called Buffalo Belzer), two demons named Wendell and Wild have a dream: they want to quit their job fixing Buffalo Belzer’s hairline and get into the human world. Once there, they want to raise funds to build a rival theme park to Scream Fair. Kat’s powers mean she can communicate with them. However, their plan—she helps them enter the human world, then they resurrect her parents—gets complicated fast.

The story references demons, hell, and raising the dead. Still, each element is so absurd (Wendell and Wild try to use Buffalo Belzer’s hair cream to raise the dead) that these references obviously don’t match biblical depictions of heaven, hell, and spirits. Parents with small children not used to absurd fantasy movies with religious imagery may want to tread carefully. Anyone who can tell the difference between the Bible and fantasy will see Wendell & Wild as a dark yet fun romp so silly it can’t be called subversive or blasphemous. The story’s true message is that trying to raise the dead solves nothing, that trauma must be faced, and that facing one’s pain is complicated but worth it.

Further Reading: Should Christians Avoid or Embrace the Horror Genre?

Photo Credit: © Netflix

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Connor SalterG. Connor Salter is a writer and editor, with a Bachelor of Science in Professional Writing from Taylor University. In 2020, he won First Prize for Best Feature Story in a regional contest by the Colorado Press Association Network. He has contributed over 1,200 articles to various publications, including interviews for Christian Communicator and book reviews for The Evangelical Church Library Association. Find out more about his work here.

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