image for Chupa

Short takes

Not suitable under 10; parental guidance to 12 (violence, scary scenes, threats)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Chupa
  • a review of Chupa completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 18 May 2023.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 10 Not suitable due to violence, scary scenes, mythical creatures, bullying and themes.
Children aged 10–12 Parental guidance recommended due to violence, scary scenes and threats.
Children aged 13 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: Chupa
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild violence, Fantasy themes
Length: 96 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Alejandro (Evan Whitten), aka Alex, is a young Mexican boy living in the USA with his mum. Following the recent passing of his father, Alex, reluctantly, spends his school holidays in his father’s hometown of San Javier with his grandfather/Abuelo Chava (Demián Bichir) and two cousins, Luna (Ashley Ciarra) and Memo (Nickolas Verdugo).

Alex befriends a chupacabra cub and names him ‘Chupa’. Thought to be a mythical creature and to have blood with magical healing abilities, Chupa is hunted by a scientist called Richard Quinn (Christian Slater) and his colleagues. Alex and his family protect Chupa and, in the process, Alex also deals with the loss of his father.


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.

Grief and loss; Death of parent; Animal distress; Racism; Ageing and memory loss.

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:

  • A large chupacabra growls at Quinn, showing its big teeth then swiping at Quinn with its paws. Quinn is thrown backwards and injured.
  • Quinn shoots a flare gun at the chupacabras. The flare hits the larger chupacabra’s wing and it is distressed.
  • Both the adult chupacabra and Chupa are hit by a car. They are alive but hurt.
  • Frequent reference to, and enacting of, lucha libre fighting.
  • Abuelo challenges Alex to a lucha libre fight. An adult is pictured, physically fighting a child in order for him to let his grief out. Alex is pinned by Abuelo. Alex charges at Abuelo from behind and hurls Abuelo off the fighting mat. Abuelo injures his back.
  • Quinn shoots Chupa with a tranquiliser gun on two occasions.
  • Chupa scratches Quinn’s face.
  • Memo bites Quinn’s arm.
  • Three large chupacabras attack Quinn’s car.
  • Quinn attempts to run the chupacabras over with his car.

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:

  • Chupacabras are a mythical creature. They look like a very large lion with wings.
  • Chupa and the other chupacabras frequently growl, roar and snarl, revealing their big teeth.
  • Some wounds, caused by the chupacabras, magically heal.
  • A rattle snake is pictured.
  • A mountain lion stalks Alex.
  • Suspenseful music.

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.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes and scary visual images, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged five to eight, including the following:

  • A bully takes Alex’s Gameboy without asking.
  • Alex’s father recently died from cancer.
  • Quinn and his colleagues chase the chupacabras through the desert on foot and by car.
  • Chupa is separated from his parent.
  • Alex is asked to choose a goat to eat for dinner as a joke. In this scene there is a large wooden chopping block and an axe in the background.
  • A dead goat is pictured.
  • In a TV report, a farmer holds up two dead animals.
  • Chupacabras are mentioned to suck the blood from goats. This is not pictured.
  • Lightning.
  • Chupa attempts to bite Alex.
  • Quinn hunts for Chupa throughout the film.

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.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged eight to thirteen, including the following:

  • Quinn’s employer visits him and leaves with a threat: “The people I work for don’t deal well with disappointment. Trust me, you don’t want to cross them”.
  • A goat rams into Alex’s window at night. Alex is scared and cries out.
  • Chupa snarls and chitters at Alex from behind a bush in the dark. Alex is scared and calls out for help.
  • Alex wakes up with Chupa in his bed and screams.
  • A mountain lion prowls towards Alex. Alex walks backwards towards the edge of a cliff. He is cornered and his only option is to back away on a rusty old pipe that runs over the cliff gully, connecting the two cliff edges. The pipe creaks and cracks. Alex dangles over the gully for a long scene.

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 further of concern.

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • Gameboy
  • Jurassic Park
  • The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
  • PacMan
  • Walkman.

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • Luna says she is, “obsessed with the Beastie Boys”.

Nudity and sexual activity

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

  • Adults wearing lucha libre outfits (spandex pants, a cape, mask and no top).

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • A doctor administers an injection in Abuelo’s arm to help him with his pain.

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • “Son of a …”
  • Loser.
  • “He’s so weird”.
  • “Don’t even think about going into my sister’s room… she will kill you”.
  • “To hell with that guy”.
  • There are also some racial slurs, including Alex being called a ‘taquito’ and being mocked for his Mexican lunch by a school bully.

In a nutshell

Chupa is a fantasy adventure movie set in Mexico and uses both English and Spanish languages throughout. The film’s key take-home message is the importance of connecting with one’s family and heritage. Best suited for a tween and up audience, however, parents are cautioned that children are pictured driving a car in several scenes and stealing a car in one scene. Children also play with and teach each other how to use fireworks.

The main messages from this movie are the importance of knowing where you come from; family devotion; dealing with grief; and protecting animals.

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

  • Compassion
  • Courage
  • Pride of culture.

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children the natural process of ageing, loss and grief, as well as attitudes towards racial differences.