One of Netflix’s newest TV series offerings — the anthology show Creeped Out — has been called the Black Mirror for kids. While Black Mirror has a few scary episodes, it’s mostly responsible for causing existential dread and making the viewer question some of the basic tenets of our society through horrifying acts. But Black Mirror doesn’t deploy masked human figure to cause havoc in every episode. Creeped Out does. But, what’s the deal? Is it too scary for kids? What age is right for this?
Creeped Out originally aired in the U.K. and Canada last year and was also christened this generation’s Are You Afraid of the Dark? The horror anthology series, featuring preteen and teenager protagonists, follows The Curious, an anonymous figure in a hockey mask, as he messes with reality with his Instamatic camera. Yes, an Instamatic camera is used as a horror device. We’re all that old now.
Each episode features a new story with The Curious being the only element that connects them. It’s a great way to get your kid interested in both anthology series and intellectual horror films. Netflix has said that this series is appropriate for children ages eight and older to watch. And that seems true. If your kid is eight or older, they’ll likely be fine.
The first episode is not scary at all, but it does feed into the anxiety of children who might own cell phones or are active on social media. This episode’s protagonist, Kim, decides to order an unbreakable phone off of a dubious commercial. Like many teens, all she wants is to be popular and her sentient phone named Marti says he can help with that. If that’s not a red flag, we don’t know what is. This phone begins to take over her entire life after he falls in love with her and threatens to ruin it like a toxic boyfriend. Naturally, he is indestructible, so she can’t get rid of him. This is not very frightening and won’t have your children covering their eyes, but it will make them think about technology in a critical way. There are a few lessons in this show, which are usually slyly revealed by the narrator at the end of each episode.
After the first episode, the subject matter occasionally veers toward the horror genre. The following episodes feature creepy ventriloquist dolls, old-fashioned circuses, and mysterious sheds.
It all depends how comfortable your child is with disturbing shows. If your child has seen a few scary movies, then they’ll probably be OK with Creeped Out. If they’re newer to the concept of shows like this, maybe they should avoid it unless they’re over 10 years old. It’s ultimately all up to you as a parent if you believe your child is ready to learn about The Curious.
Creeped Out is on Netflix now.