Scary or Not Scary? A Parent’s Review of ‘The Addams Family 2’

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*Warning: Minor spoilers ahead*

The Addams family is everybody’s favorite offbeat brood, and the latest iteration of the New Yorker cartoon turned TV and film franchise is about to hit the big—and small—screen. Yep, we’re talking about The Addams Family 2, the sequel to the 2019 animated film that is being released in cinemas and for online rental on October 1. If you’re not familiar with the modern portrayal of the classic characters, you might have a few questions about whether or not the dark content is actually appropriate to watch with your kids. Find out everything parents need to know about the highly-anticipated sequel in our The Addams Family 2 movie review.

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The Plot 

The Addams Family 2 begins with a science fair, and a particularly stand-offish Wednesday Addams (voiced by Chloe Grace Moretz) who turns her characteristically dark and dour personality against her family in classic teen fashion. In fact, Wednesday unveils her entry in said fair—a machine designed to transplant personality traits from one living thing into another—with a monologue that reveals her inspiration for the project: Have you ever found yourself discontented by those closest to you? Are you irked by their inability to heed simple requests, such as ‘please don’t come to my science fair’? Do you ever wish you could take their undesirable qualities and eliminate them forever?

Of course, Wednesday’s disdain for her family doesn’t put a damper on the enthusiasm of her spooky but ever-doting parents, Morticia Addams (Charlize Theron) and Gomez Addams (Oscar Isaac). However, when Wednesday snubs yet another family dinner, her parents decide that some family bonding, in the form of a cross-country road trip, is in order. And thus begins the next big Addams family adventure.

The storyline largely focuses on Wednesday’s relationship to her family (she may have been switched at birth, thanks to uncle Fester’s penchant for juggling babies), peppered with all the violent slapstick comedy and quippy dark humor you’d expect.

What Parents Need to Know 

It seems silly to complain about dark humor in an Addams Family movie, but there’s an argument to be made that The Addams Family 2, an animated film presumably intended for young audiences, takes it too far. For example, Wednesday’s voodoo doll of her brother Pugsley is introduced early on with a mildly shocking neck-twisting scene but becomes even more disturbing when she uses it to make her brother dance violently in front of young girls he’s trying to flirt with before throwing the doll, and her brother along with it, into Niagara Falls. Ultimately the entire family takes a similar plunge and survives—but while the whole thing is meant to be humorous, it likely won’t go over the heads of even the youngest viewers that Wednesday tried to murder her brother and very nearly succeeded. It’s also not an isolated event—at the start of their journey Wednesday casually tries to suffocate her brother with a pillow while Gomez shares the trip itinerary with the family. When Wednesday takes off for California, her brother is discovered in her bed, bound and gagged.

It’s also worth noting that the violence is not limited to attempted homicides. The lawyer disappears from the movie after Wednesday suspends him from a cliff and then quips that she “let him go.” In Miami, Wednesday punishes a couple of kids who teased her on the beach by sending a thundercloud to follow and electrocute them repeatedly—an act of revenge depicted with lightning bolts and running skeletons. In another scene, Pugsley blows up the Grand Canyon with explosives; kids may not connect the dots, but it’s pretty clear the implication is that a lot of tourists were killed as a result. While one certainly expects the macabre in an Addams Family movie, it’s unclear how well the comedy translates to an animated film. In fact, it’s fair to say that it’s considerably more disturbing and grotesque in this format than compared to, say, Addams Family Values—the 90s cult favorite in which references to sibling murder reign supreme, but come off as more campy and funny than actually freaky.

Aside from the dark humor and violence, parents should also be aware that some other adult themes are present. For the most part, these are just one-liners that will get a chuckle out of the grown-ups in the room, while making little to no impression on younger viewers. (Example: Wednesday grants her mother permission to “take a new lover” in the event her dad dies.) However, some parents may find it a bit problematic when Wednesday wanders into a bar where a gang of menacing bikers are drinking booze and having violent bar fights. It’s all a bit gratuitous, but the edge is taken off when said bikers start dancing to Aretha Franklin and turn out to be, well, nice.

Now that we’ve covered some of the more eyebrow-raising elements of the movie, let’s talk about the highlights. For starters, the all-star cast of voice actors is nothing to shake a stick at. More importantly, though, The Addams Family 2 does a good job of sticking to the spirit of the original series with themes of familial love. Morticia and Gomez are consistently devoted to their children and to each other, and by the end of the film Wednesday learns that it’s OK to be different and is thus able to embrace her family as well. Attempted murder notwithstanding, they are a rather wholesome family.

The takeaway? This one can be an entertaining watch, but it’s really best suited for older kids.

Run time: 93 minutes

MPAA rating: PG

PureWow Rating: 2.5 stars 

An action-packed, dark comedy with positive messages about family and self-acceptance…and loads of violence.

For a full breakdown of PureWow's entertainment rating system, click here.

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Emma Singer is a freelance contributing editor and writer at PureWow who has over 7 years of professional proofreading, copyediting and writing experience. At PureWow, she covers...