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Short takes

Not recommended for under 6; parental guidance 6 to 9 due to scary and violent scenes

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Boxtrolls
  • a review of Boxtrolls completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 23 September 2014.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 6 Not recommended due to violence and scary scenes
Children aged 6 to 9 Parental guidance recommended due to violence and scary scenes
Children aged 9 and over OK for this age group

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines. Other classification advice (OC) is provided where the Australian film classification is not available.

Name of movie: Boxtrolls
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild themes and violence
Length: 97 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Boxtrolls is a quirky stop motion animation film from the creators of Coraline and ParaNorman. It is based on the children’s novel Here Be Monsters by Alan Snow.

Eggs (voiced by Isaac Hempsead Wright) is an orphan who is raised by Boxtrolls. Boxtrolls are little friendly trolls who live underground and who collect and reuse trash for their inventions. However, the town’s people believe that Boxtrolls are scary monsters who steal their children and their precious cheese.

When Archibald Snatcher (Ben Kingsley) is promised a leadership role in the town if he eliminates all the Boxtrolls, Eggs must venture above ground to save them. Eggs meets a girl name Winnie (Elle Fanning) and together they must try to stop the evil exterminators, save the Boxtrolls and convince the town that the trolls are actually good.


Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Kidnapping; separation from parents; children as victims; death of a parent

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is some violence in this movie including:

  • The exterminators threaten to kill the Boxtrolls and then they chase after them with bats and fire nets to hunt them down
  • Archibald Snatcher tries to kidnap Eggs when he is a baby
  • Archibald Snatcher kidnaps Eggs’s father and keeps him captive for ten years
  • The Boxtrolls are shown to be crushed by a box crusher. They successfully escape but the audience doesn’t learn this until later in the movie
  • Archibald Snatcher builds a giant mechanical robot which destroys the Boxtrolls’ home and then tries to kill Eggs by dangling him over a fire.
  • Both Eggs and Winnie bite people as a way of escaping

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • The tone of the whole film is rather spooky and this may scare some children. There are creepy looking Victorian style houses, eerie music and foggy night time scenes.
  • The descriptions of the Boxtrolls by the townspeople are scary. They call them ‘blood thirsty monsters who have mounds of baby bones and rivers of blood’.
  • Two Boxtroll inventors get accidentally electrocuted when trying to build something
  • Archibald Snatcher is a scary looking character that has an evil maniacal laugh
  • Archibald Snatcher’s mechanical robot is big and scary. It has red eyes and a furnace for its chest. The robot destroys a large portion of the town and tries to kill Eggs.
  • When Archibald Snatcher eats cheese he has an allergic reaction and his face swells up. At the end of the movie he eats so much cheese that he explodes. This may be scary for young children.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Children in this age group may also be scared or disturbed by the above mentioned scenes

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Some of the younger children in this age group may be scared or disturbed by some of the above mentioned scenes but there is mostly nothing of concern

Thirteen and overinfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Nothing of concern

Product placement

None of concern

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • Mrs. Fru Fru (who is Archibald Snatcher cross-dressing as a woman) does a sultry dance
  • The mayor and several other male members of the town are attracted to Mrs. Fru Fru.

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some nudity and sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • There is some animated nudity when the Boxtrolls remove their boxes at the end of the movie. You can see their bottoms and the townspeople look very astonished

Use of substances

None of concern

Coarse language

There are some mild insults, including:

  • ‘Stupid’
  • ‘Peasants’  - used as an insult

In a nutshell

The Boxtrolls is a quirky and spooky animated film about the problems of wanting to fit in and to be something that you are not. It is ideal for children over the age of 9. Because of the themes and the scary elements of this film, parental guidance is recommended for younger children.

The main messages from this movie are:

  • Be yourself
  • Don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • Bravery
  • Kindness
  • Acceptance of others

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children the real-life consequences of passing on, and believing in, rumours.