Netflix's Cursed Is Captivating, but the Epic Fantasy Is Definitely Not For Kids

Jul 17 2020 - 9:00am

An imaginative retelling of the Arthurian legend of the Lady of the Lake [1], Netflix's Cursed [2] will hook you into its fantastic world. Still, it's not a show geared toward young kids, and the TV-MA rating says it all. There's gore, violence, sex, and did we mention gore? The series, helmed by Frank Miller and Tom Wheeler, is gritty for sure. If you're wondering whether or not it's appropriate for your kids, we've compiled a comprehensive parent's guide to Cursed.

While Cursed doesn't go light on violence, it's a well-crafted show that older kids, perhaps mature teens, can appreciate. If your kid can handle R-rated movies, they might be able to meaningfully reflect on the epic ten-episode series. Cursed is a coming-of-age fantasy with a nuanced female lead who learns to accept her powers. Katherine Langford [3]'s Nimue honors her mother's request to deliver a sword to Merlin the magician and stands up for her fellow Fey, who are being slaughtered by vicious Red Paladins. Strong messages about loyalty and justice drive the story forward. On the representation front, people of color occupy meaningful roles, such as Morgana and Arthur, though the main cast is predominantly white. We also see a queer romance between two women.

Obviously, Cursed has a lot to offer, but what about the more adult and sensitive material in Cursed? Keep reading as we break down what parents should keep in mind before streaming the show.

Cursed Features a LOT of Gore

Seriously. The story basically revolves around the Red Paladins hunting down the Fey, though later on, it's fair to say that everyone has blood on their hands. All throughout the first season [5], you'll see people being burned, shot, stabbed, beheaded, trampled, and more. The show is rather forward about it as well, so you won't see too many cutaway shots. In the very opening scene, we see Nimue underwater, shot with arrows and surrounded by her own blood.

Cursed Offers Romance For Grown-Ups

Cursed brings the steam here and there. Characters have sexual relationships, but sex isn't the primary focus of the show. Nudity, for the most part, is concealed or very shadowy, slightly less graphic than what you might find on HBO. There's also a (literally) steamy hot-spring scene, though the characters don't do anything except almost kiss. Cursed features an explicit sex scene toward the end that goes by fairly quickly.

Cursed Has Complex World Building

The world building and plot can be lost upon younger children because it gets complicated. There are different groups to keep track of — Red Paladins, raiders, nuns, Fey, and more. Even among the Fey, you have multiple groups, such as the Tusks, Snakes, and Sky Folks.

The plot also twists and turns. While this can keep adults on the edge of their seats, children may find it hard to follow. By the end, multiple people and groups go after Nimue, all of their motivations slightly different.

Cursed Depicts Dark Adult Themes

Cursed keeps it light when it comes to profane language (you'll hear a "sh*t" and "piss" here or there), but it gets dark as everyone chases after control and power. We see adult themes revolving around excess, violence, and revenge. Merlin copes with his troubled past by drinking copiously, especially in the first couple of episodes. The Red Paladins exert their power over others through torture, even keeping a child as a hostage. And King Uther, upon discovering the truth about his background, plots revenge accordingly.

Cursed Gets Pretty Scary

The casual massacres and totalitarian Red Paladins are undoubtedly scary. But even beyond the violence, we also get other creepy factors thrown into the mix that legitimately give the show The Conjuring and American Horror Story [6] vibes. The appearance of the unsettling black-veiled Widow alone will give you chills. Morgana has a spooky story as well. She later becomes linked with the Widow after seeing her ghostly lover and dealing with the Cailleach (the spider god).

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