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Orion and the Dark | 2024 | TV-Y7 | – 1.3.3

content-ratingsWhy is “Orion and the Dark” rated TV-Y7? The TV Parental Guidelines Monitoring Board rating indicates that “this program is designed for children age 7 and above.” The evaluation includes several scenes of a young boy in dream sequences with assorted entities that take him through the dark to show him things that scare him, a few encounters with a human bully, several arguments, discussions of fears, and some name-calling and mild language. Read our parents’ guide below for details on sexual content, violence & strong language.

A young boy (voiced by Jacob Fremblay) named after a bright constellation, is afraid of the darkness, so an entity (voiced by Paul Walter Hauser) takes him on a global adventure to show him there is nothing to fear from the lack of light. Also with the voices of Angela Bassett, Colin Hanks, Mia Akemi Brown, Ike Barinholtz, Nat Faxom, Golda Rosheuvel, Natasia Demetriou, Aparna Nacherla, Carla Gugino and Matt Dellapina. Directed by Sean Charmatz. [Running Time: 1:30]

Orion and the Dark SEX/NUDITY 1

 – A boy says he likes a girl, but he walks away and gasps as she speaks to him. A supernatural entity kisses four people on the cheek as she helps them go to sleep.

Orion and the Dark VIOLENCE/GORE 3

 – A young boy has many fears and draws them in a sketchbook that we see several times in both still drawings and animations: An evil-looking clown gnashes sharp red teeth and swings a meat cleaver; a mosquito bites an arm that turns green, falls off, and leaves a red stump with a bone sticking out; a barber uses what look like pruning shears to cut a boy’s hair; a boy falls off a skyscraper, thumps loudly below the frame, and a skull and bones fly up into the frame and fall off-screen again. A page in a sketchbook shows a boy flushing a toilet at school and all the children floating in a flood of blue water inside the building, waving for help. A sketchbook page shows cancer-causing rays emanating from a cell phone. A load of green slime hits a man standing on a gallows platform on a sketchbook page.
 In a young boy’s dream, a giant bully stomps loudly after him, grabs him, and flushes him down a toilet, but the water flies into the bully’s face and knocks him through a closet door whereupon we hear that there is some sort of black hole; the dreaming boy then awakens. A young boy in a daydream screams off-screen, runs into the frame, slams into a locker, falls, gets up again, screams again, and runs off-screen chased by a bully shouting and threatening another young boy as he rips up the boy’s sketch pad; a cartoon within this sequence reveals the boy imagining the bully punching him and the boy retaliating with a punch that caves in the bully’s face and leaves a reddened eye; the imagines bully falls dead as the other boy is pushed into a police car that has a siren and flashing light; we see the boy in an orange jumpsuit and shackles behind bars and when the boy stops daydreaming we see the bully and other children laughing and pointing at the boy. A young boy stands at his school locker and the camera zooms back to show that his jeans are on backwards as a crowd of kids shouts, laughs, and points at him.
 A young boy, afraid of the dark, sees a rainstorm outside at night, with a lot of thunder and lightning flashing, the thunder and lightning then appears to be coming from his closet and its louvered doors shake; the boy gasps and screams as the darkness in his room reveals glowing eyes and a smile as a deep male voice berates the boy for screaming every night and says it is a supernatural entity.
 An entity takes a fearful young boy around the world to show him situations and things that might cause fear, but that actually have nothing fearsome in them; the entity flies with the boy screaming in his arms or riding on his shoulder through the night skies, the boy falls a short distance, the entity catches him, but he says, “I almost died.”
 A sleep entity puts a sparkly pillow over an old man’s face to put him to sleep, puts a woman to sleep with a sparkly handkerchief full of chloroform, and starts to hit a baby with a sparkly mallet until a young boy screams at her; the entity becomes angry and argues with the boy. Several entities mock a young boy and say that he is ruining the nighttime and a tiny white mouse entity becomes very angry several times, but always speaks in a tiny quiet voice. An entity grumbles when daylight approaches and flies away with a young boy; the entity that brings the daylight fills the sky with yellow light and confronts another entity that brings the night with a smile, and a brief argument ensues; one entity belittles the other and flies away with a young boy, grumbling. Several entities argue a few times.
 A robot makes many noises, like clanging things together. A dream entity gives people good dreams that create a gooey type of floor covering around it and a young boy gets his foot stuck in the goo briefly. A tiny white mouse entity inhales all the noises at night in a small town and they fly around in its stomach as light beams; a young boy shouts, “It’s too quiet” and the mouse accidentally releases all the noises. An insect being whispers worries to sleeping people and one man wakes up with a start, yelling “Mommy!” A giant cucumber with gnashing sharp teeth in a dream wields a huge whirring drill and chases a dental patient with it, but does not catch her.
 Several entities put a young boy to sleep and give him a dream he can control; he sees a world of no night at all, where angry people are overheated because it’s always daytime and in the summer two men get out of their cars in a traffic jam and shove each other several times, and another man shouts into his telephone and a grasshopper catches fire in the sun. A young boy dreams about meeting a night entity in his bedroom and the closet door shakes, flies open, and sucks the entity into a black and red corridor toward a black hole; pages from the boy’s sketchbook are sucked in and a strong wind sucks other items into the closet including the boy, but the other night entities have tied him to a rope of tied-together sheets and when the first night entity yells for help, the boy grabs him, but the sheet rope breaks in two. Several night entities work to wake up a young boy and finally do after a tiny mouse entity sucks up all the noise and she can whisper in his ear to awaken him; the boy startles awake and he and the night entities admire the night sky, its constellations, and all the animals that awaken only at night.
 A young girl visits her father as a boy and gets stuck in time 20 years earlier; a boy in a green and black superhero suit takes her to a time travel pod through a bunch of small purple monsters with big teeth and claws, and he shoots them to pieces with a ray gun and the girl arrives in her father’s house as a giant purple monster appears, but the boy from the time machine destroys it with a ray gun shot. A basketball hits a young boy in the face; he falls but is not hurt. A young boy is shown with a man ‘o war jellyfish stuck on his face, but it is removed without a visible injury.
 Several entities fly with streaks of colorful flashing lights behind them and they include a tiny white mouse, a robot, an insect-like being, a blobby blue sleep entity, and a tall entity that resembles the night at dusk with stars filling her silhouette. An insect pounds its head on a table where it’s playing poker, the sleep creature falls asleep on the table.
 An entity that brings the night thinks about a young boy’s grandson in the future, the small boy saying he is scared and it becomes sad and gloomy for several minutes, blaming itself for the child’s fear. An entity says no one likes it and everyone is afraid of it. Several night entities quit and decide to work for the day entity; the night entity sits on a rock as the light washes over it and it evaporates as the rock turns into a giant tortoise and flies away with a young boy on its back. A young boy says that he is afraid that his parents will move away while he is at school one day. We see a pile of letters that a young boy says were all sent on his birthday and contain threats. A young boy says that he fears the darkness more than he fears death. A man and a small girl walk to Central Park in New York at night and gasp at the darkness; they turn away and walk where there are many lights and people. A young boy says that he fears death and we see him lying inside a chalk outline and then spinning in limbo; he says there is nothing after death, you just die. Later, we hear that if you die in a dream, you die in real life.
 A row of toilet stalls in a school washroom shows shoes and pant legs gathered around the shoes below the closed doors (we hear nothing); the camera cuts to a boy sitting in a stall and drawing a picture in his sketch pad and he stands up and pulls his jeans up from below the frame.

Orion and the Dark LANGUAGE 3

 – At least 1 scatological term, 2 mild obscenities, name-calling (Cryin’ Orion, Mr. Smarty Pants, Night Enemy Number One, idiot, crazy, stupid, lame, obnoxious, old, irresponsible, nonsense, judgy, boys’ club, wacko, infernal), exclamations (curse you darkness, what the heck, what the …, gosh darn it, heck, whoa, wow, whoo, bummer), 8 religious exclamations (e.g. God, thank God, oh my God, Holy cow). | profanity glossary |

Orion and the Dark SUBSTANCE USE

 – Six supernatural entities and a young boy enter a teahouse and most sip from small cups of what is likely tea, and a woman on a porch picks up a glass of wine and a beer bottle and takes them into the house (no one is seen drinking).

Orion and the Dark DISCUSSION TOPICS

 – Child mental health, the supernatural, anger, sadness, jealousy, fear, phobias, panic attacks, rejection, humiliation, hiding the truth, projecting negatives onto other people, reincarnation, time travel, truth, trust, risk-taking, adventures, friendship, teamwork, learning, growing up.

Orion and the Dark MESSAGE

 – Children and adults can learn to overcome fears, but the challenge is lifelong.

Editor’s Note: One character speaks in a soft voice that sounds far away and may be difficult for some to hear. The film also contains some flashing lights that may be harmful to those with seizure disorders.


Be aware that while we do our best to avoid spoilers it is impossible to disguise all details and some may reveal crucial plot elements.

We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and older reviews are not as complete & accurate as recent ones; we plan to revisit and correct older reviews as resources and time permits.

Our ratings and reviews are based on the theatrically-released versions of films; on video there are often Unrated, Special, Director's Cut or Extended versions, (usually accurately labelled but sometimes mislabeled) released that contain additional content, which we did not review.

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