Yet, hard as it may seem to believe, it is actually possible to make a thriller or horror movie with a PG-13 rating that is worth watching. Horror-comedies, of course, work fine with a PG-13 rating (Ghostbusters and Gremlins were given the even more restrictive PG rating), but believe it or not, The Ring, which is a genuinely scary film, was also PG-13. The scares were there, there just wasn’t any blood. Disturbia, the teenage rip-off... uh ...update of Rear Window is also PG-13. It’s not the PG-13 rating that makes horror movies bad, it’s the fact that many film makers who make PG-13 horror films lack the creativity and innovation necessary to make those movies good.
To further prove my point, here are 5 more PG-13 thrillers and horror movies that are actually worth watching:
The Monster Squad (1987)
A group of kids must stop Dracula, the Wolfman, Frankenstein’s monster, the Mummy and the Creature from the Black Lagoon from bringing about the end of the world.
The Goonies, The Gremlins, The Monster Squad. They sure don’t movies like that anymore. Co-written by Shane Black, who also wrote such films as Lethal Weapon and The Last Boy Scout, I’ve never been quite sure whether this movie was aimed at kids or if, like Stephen King’s It, was in fact, an adult movie about kids. It also answers the question of what happens to a werewolf if you blow him into lots of little pieces.
Stars: Andre Gower, Duncan Regehr, Stephen Macht.
Rating: Australia M/ US PG-13/ UK 15.
A thriller rather than a horror film, this independent feature really ramps up in the last half hour when things inevitably go wrong for the pair resulting in a string of twists and double-crosses. Even though Brad Rowe is the star, the highlight is seeing Seth Green back in his Buffy days.
Stars: Brad Rowe, Seth Green, Zoe McLellan
Rating: Australia M/ US PG-13
Cry Wolf (2005)
Although the premise makes it sound like a teen slasher film, this modern update of The Boy who Cried Wolf is actually a very clever confidence trick movie with a fantastic ending.
Stars: Julian Morris, Lindy Booth, Jared Padalecki, Jon Bon Jovi
Rating: Australia M/ US PG-13/ UK 12A
Drag Me to Hell (2009)
Writer/director Sam Raimi returns to his horror roots with this grossly funny horror film that plays a lot like an episode of Tales From the Crypt. It’s the perfect example of a film maker using creativity to push the limits of the PG-13 rating.
Stars: Alison Lohman, Justin Long
Rating: Australia MA/ US PG-13/ UK 15
Fear Island (2009)
This made for TV movie is the cinematic equivalent of R.L. Stine’s Fear Street books. Mystery and suspense take the place of blood and gore, but it still manages to achieve an acceptably large body count, clocking up a total of six corpses.
Stars: Haylie Duff, Aaron Ashmore, Lucy Hale
Rating: UK 15 / Unrated in the US, as it was made for TV, but conforms to the MPAA’s PG-13 certificate requirements.