A highly intelligent hunchback is rescued from an abusive life as a circus freak by the enigmatic genius, Victor Frankenstein. When Frankenstein’s experiments to raise the dead begin to get out of hand, the hunchback, who has been given the name ‘Igor’, starts to doubt whether his friend’s motives are entirely sane and ethical. With some allies not being all what they seem, Igor does everything he can to help Victor before his experiments go too far.

Victor Frankenstein (2015) – Director: Paul McGuigan

Is Victor Frankenstein appropriate for kids

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Rating: 12

Running Length: 110 mins

Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, James McAvoy, Jessica Brown Findlay

Genre: Horror, Drama


The story of Victor Frankenstein has been told and re-told countless times since the original novel was penned by Mary Shelley and, as this blockbuster proves, it is a story that has stood the test of time. Unusually told from Igor’s perspective, this adaptation of the story shows how Igor became Victor’s friend, and his opinions on Frankenstein’s creations. With very believable motivations for both Igor and Victor, the central premise is enhanced by their genuine friendship. The chemistry between the two is natural and not forced; both leads play their roles to perfection, especially McAvoy whose simmering madness is a welcome change to the over-the-top insanity that is expected with the ‘mad scientist’ role of Victor Frankenstein.

While the core of the plot is wonderfully realised, especially with the character development and acting between Radcliffe and McAvoy, there are a few sub-plot threads which are raised in vain that either go no-where or have uninteresting endings. This is a real shame as the movie could have been so much better with some extra characterisation and additional plot lines to flesh out the world that Victor and Igor live in.

With more drama than action, this adaptation may not be for everyone but with all the trappings of a good Frankenstein film (along with an unexpected and welcome reference to Mel Brooks’ ‘Young Frankenstein’!), this is a movie that sees the humanity behind the madness and posits that science doesn’t always have the answers.


The first scene of the movie is set in a Victorian circus which is where Igor has lived all his life. His hunchback is a grotesque deformity which forces him to walk in a very unnatural and seemingly uncomfortable way. His role at the circus is to play the fool where other performers painfully punch and kick him to the ground; the audience watch this with delight and laugh at his misfortune.

A female trapeze artist wears a costume that is quite revealing; her legs are bare and the top is low-cut to enhance her cleavage, however her outfit is never sexualised and while a character finds her attractive, they do not focus on her body while she wears this costume.

A character falls from a height and is badly injured, two characters can see that one of her bones is broken. As they look at the injured area, the bone is shown to the audience as a drawing (as might be seen in a medical book) and it is snapped in two. This isn’t graphic and there is no blood or gore.

A man is suddenly attacked by a man who stabs a very long needle into his back. He is unable to move and screams and gasps in pain. The attacker does not do this maliciously but they do not allow the man to give any consent and they force the procedure on him. This lasts for around two minutes and is quite graphic, especially the suffering that the victim goes through. Once the procedure is completed, the attacker then roughly manipulates the man’s back, throwing him hard against a pillar. This whole scene is mostly done with humour but could be a little disturbing for children, especially as the needle which is forced into the man’s back is about a foot long.

In one scene, two eyes are suspended in liquid in a tank that have electrodes attached to them. There is some skin around the eyes and they still have eyelids; one character tells another that they are ‘eyes of a three-month-old’. Electricity is sent through them and as a flame is moved around nearby, the eyes follow it but do not move in unison. This could be quite disturbing for some children and, although the dialogue may not be understood by younger ones, older kids may be upset that a baby’s eyes have been used for this experiment (especially as there is no explanation of how these eyes were obtained).

The first creature that Frankenstein attempts to reanimate is a chimp. Its body is grotesque with holes that have been ripped into it, including a large hole in its head. Its mouth has been ripped open and some of its teeth can be seen through the hole. There is some dried blood around these wounds and some muscle and tissue can be seen. One of the times that it is reanimated, it becomes aggressive, screeching noisily and lunging at someone nearby; there is then an intense scene where a character tries to find it in a darkened room. This lasts for two to three minutes and is quite frightening before the creature lunges at the character, aggressively chasing him as he flees in terror.

There are several disparaging remarks against religion but they are all in context as a scientist like Frankenstein (an arrogant man who believes life can be created by humans) would be expected to be someone who looks down on religion. He implies that religion is for primitive minds, and that those with higher intelligence and logical thinking would have no need for it. These remarks are directed at one particular character who is a devout Christian and Frankenstein takes great pleasure in insulting him at every opportunity, telling him ‘you trust in a fiction’.

A man’s arm is caught in a large cog, he screams in pain and is unable to remove it. His suffering is lingered upon for around a minute and two characters near him do nothing to help. A short while later, several of his fingers have been amputated and he has a false hand.



Although the story has been told countless times before and there is little more that can be done with this classic tale, ‘Victor Frankenstein’ manages to keep itself grounded with a focus on the humanity within the inhumanity and madness of Frankenstein. With plenty of scares and lots of horror, we feel this movie is most appropriate for kids aged 11 and over but would recommend parental supervision on the first viewing.

  • Violence: 3/5 (a creature is created and becomes violent, it is shot several times, each time a small amount of blood spurts out from the wounds. A creature is repeatedly hit over the head with a blunt object which kills it, a pool of blood is seen on the floor around it)
  • Emotional Distress: 2/5 (Igor’s tragic beginnings could be quite upsetting for kids, he is beaten for the amusement of the public and his treasured belongings are destroyed as he begs for the perpetrators to stop. He is then locked in a cage with the threat of more beatings)
  • Fear Factor: 4/5 (a body is suspended in a case full of ice. Their eyes have been removed and there are several close-up of the holes where the eyes should have been. A character says to another ‘you harvested his eyes’)
  • Sexual Content: 3/5 (a character acts boisterously and shouts out the word ‘sperms!’ several times. He also talks to a women about artificial insemination, telling her that a fertilised egg will be placed in ‘a funnel, then we shuck it up ya…’ while using a somewhat lewd hand gesture to indicate where the funnel would go, the women is shocked by what he is saying but the camera moves away from the conversation and nothing more is heard. A male and female character become physically intimate, they kiss passionately and are seen lying on a bed together, the man is topless. He is next seen the following morning and it is made clear that he spent the night with the woman)
  • Bad Language: 1/5 (infrequent mild blasphemy)
  • Dialogue: 2/5 (a policeman talks about a recent crime at a zoo saying ‘animal limbs were amputated and stolen’. A character speaks of a man who ‘prefers the company of men’, this vaguely suggests that he is gay but is likely to be too obscure for most young children to understand)
  • Other notes: Deals with themes of science vs religion, humanity, playing God, scientific discovery, the ethical and moral questions of science, fighting against society for what you believe to be right, friendship, loyalty and having the courage to go against a friend when you believe them to be in the wrong.

Words by Laura Record

Victor Frankenstein [Blu-ray] [2015]

New From: £6.72 GBP In Stock

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