image for Scarygirl

Short takes

Not suitable under 6; parental guidance to 7 (violence, scary scenes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Scarygirl
  • a review of Scarygirl completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 30 October 2023.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 6 Not suitable due to violence and scary scenes.
Children aged 6–7 Parental guidance recommended due to violence and scary scenes.
Children aged 8 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: Scarygirl
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild science fiction themes, some scenes may scare young children
Length: 90 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Arkie (voice of Jillian Nguyen) is a twelve-year-old girl who lives on a peninsula with her adopted dad Blister (Rob Collins), an octopus. Their environment is constantly being robbed of sunlight due to the nefarious experiments of Dr Maybee (Sam Neil), who lives in a large, futuristic city full of light. Maybee runs the city as a supposedly benevolent ruler who only wants to give his citizens a better life.

Blister has restorative powers that Maybee wants to harness to recreate his lost daughter. He orders the Keeper (Anna Torv) to search the planet to find Blister. The Keeper, in turn, orders Chihoohoo (Tim Minchin) to use his cronies to scour the planet. Chihoohoo eventually spots Blister and captures him. Arkie now has to leave her familiar environment and venture into the big city to find and rescue Blister. She does this with the aid of Bunniguru (Remy Hill) and his companion, Egg (Kate Murphy). Along the way, Arkie discovers the truth of who she is.


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.

Science Fiction; Despotic rulers; Adopted families.

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:

  • Arkie is adventurous and likes to climb high on objects, from which she falls, on a few occasions, crashing to the ground.
  • Arkie lets go of a wheel, which causes everything to crash down, breaking many objects.
  • A beam of light causes Bunniguru’s aircraft to go off course and very nearly crashes into a larger spaceship. The aircraft crashes to the ground.
  • Chihoohoo’s cronies chase after Blister in their spaceship and fire missiles at him. They eventually capture him in an iron cage. When Blister tries to open the bars of the cage, he is electrocuted but not obviously hurt.
  • Several small creatures are put into Maybee’s DNA transference machine and are visibly weakened by this.
  • Blister is put into Maybee’s machine and is seen visibly distressed.
  • Co-joined twin creatures fight amongst themselves. They grab hold of Arkie and throw her.
  • The Keeper rebels and attacks Maybee with a blinding light.

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:

  • There are many scary-looking characters in the movie: Arkie has a tentacle for an arm, a patch over one eye, a hook for a hand and stitches on her mouth; The Keeper is a tall, dark, Mandarin character with yellow eyes; Chihoohoo’s cronies are large, orange creatures who look like thugs and one of them wears a black mask; Characters in the city come in all shapes and sizes.
  • There are several loud, sudden explosions.
  • A city spaceship looks like a giant lobster covered in spikes.

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:

  • Bunniguru and Egg scream in fright when they see Arkie.
  • Blister is seen trapped in a cage, in a seemingly comatose position.
  • Arkie, Bunniguru and Egg enter a dark cave where lots of eyes appear in the darkness. Tree roots close the gap behind them and they are confronted by a large, tree creature. Arkie is caught up in ropes and goes inside the tree’s mouth. There, she sees a strange world of cogs and wheels. She is visited by Maybee and she sees her tentacle transformed into an arm. She is then spat out by the tree and is back to her old self. In the cave, the orange leaves all gather into a fiery creature who scolds them for entering the cave. Inside the fiery creature is a woman with orange eyes.
  • Two creatures in the city are co-joined twins.
  • Bunniguru is seen being held upside-down by the cronies.
  • Maybee tells Arkie who her real father is.
  • Maybee orders the Keeper to put Arkie into the machine.
  • Maybee starts up the machine and Blister’s eyes go white.
  • The city spaceship crashes into Maybee’s lab.

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.

  • Nothing further noted.

Product placement

  • None noted.

Sexual references

  • None noted.

Nudity and sexual activity

  • None noted.

Use of substances

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

  • Some drinking in a bar.

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • Some name calling such as:
    • Idiot
    • Moron
    • Mutt.

In a nutshell

Scarygirl is an animated, Australian, steampunk movie set in a dystopian future. The movie is based on the original character, by Australian author-illustrator Nathan Jurevicius, from which vinyl toys, graphic novels, video games, and now this film have emerged. In the movie, Arkie is not a scary girl at all, in fact, she is kind, adventurous and courageous. The movie is visually stunning in places as it moves from darkness to light, comparing the world of machines, cogs and wheels, to a world of natural beauty. However, the story is somewhat convoluted, which young children are likely to find hard to follow. Several scenes are also visually scary and, therefore, not suitable for children under 6 and parental guidance is recommended for children ages 6 to 7.

The main messages from this movie are that ‘there is always something you can do to make the world a better place’; and to persevere at tasks that are difficult.

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

  • Courage
  • Bravery
  • Kindness
  • Care for the environment
  • Loyalty.

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as:

  • Why did Maybee think it was all right to sacrifice some lives to pursue his goals?
  • Why did Bunniguru betray his friend? He regretted it afterwards but rewards for evil deeds never pay off.