As a premise, The Hunger Games brings up many compelling moral questions about the effects of inequality in society and insightfully shows how people’s indifference to the poor can bring terrible suffering and death.

The film is a futuristic dystopic that follows KatnissEverdeen, who is called up to represent her district in a game of life and death. Katniss shows admirable ethical resilience in a situation and society that is morally bankrupt.

Great message. The problem is, the message is also in the medium. And the medium for this movie is several onscreen depictions of child killing. This medium-as-message idea especially holds true for the young and impressionable. When an eighteen year old graphically kills a twelve year old onscreen, a child might easily interpret the message as “the world is a scary place that is violent to helpless kids.” The child instinctively knows this because mom and dad just paid money to take the whole family to be entertained by a movie that is very, very violent against children.

Traditionally, the depiction of killing children is extremely taboo. Even in the video game industry, known for its willingness to depict graphic violence, self-regulates itself and does not allow the killing of children in their video games. What went wrong with the MPAA rating systemthatgave this film a PG-13 rating,and what went wrong that it was successfully marketing to children without hardly a peep of protest?

The Hunger Games is the very first film of its kind. It has never been done before. It may not be the very first film whose whole premise is about killing children and that graphically depicts several child killings, but it is the very first one that successfully marketed itself as a family film. And the families are seeing it together in droves.

In the name of civility, please consider skipping The Hunger Games. Consider restricting your children from seeing it. Below is only a small sample of the acts of deadly violence against children in the film. Be advised that these are graphic descriptions.

  • A young man of about 18 breaks the neck of a young boy with his bare hands. The boy appears to be about 12 years old.
  • A young man is seen beating another young man to death with a brick.
  • An adorable young girl, about 12 or 13, is seen killed point blank by an arrow from an older teen. We see blood and the arrow protruding from her chest.
  • 24 teens ranging from 12 to 18 years old rush for weapons. 12 are killed. We see stabbings, blades slashing, blood splattering, and dead children on the ground, covered in blood.