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Kennedy Unthank

Movie Review

[Note: The Crow is being rereleased in theaters May 29 and 30 to commemorate its 30th anniversary.]

It’s a bad night on Devil’s Night.

Crime-ravaged Detroit is already a tough beat for law enforcement. But on the night before Halloween, police officers and firefighters have their jobs cut out for them.

Every year, the city is engulfed in countless fires as arsonists take to the streets in grim celebration, all led by the elusive crime boss Top Dollar. Now, Top Dollar sets his sights on a string of apartment complexes he’d like to burn. So he orders the residents to clear the building.

But he doesn’t account for Shelly, a resident who protests the eviction. So Top Dollar sends some goons to take care of her. And as they beat and rape her, her fiancé, Eric, walks in. Soon, both Shelly and Eric are murdered. Devil’s Night rages on.

But exactly one year later, Eric bursts from his grave. He stumbles back to his apartment, and all those horrible memories come rushing back to him. And as he cuts his hand on the broken glass on the window those criminals pushed him through, he finds that his hands heal immediately.

Eric recognizes that he’s been brought back from the dead for revenge: to right the wrongs that were perpetrated upon Shelly and him.

And this year’s Devil’s Night won’t see the sun before he does just that.

Positive Elements

Eric is driven by his need to establish justice, albeit on his vigilante terms, for what happened to him and his fiancée. His desire to put things right is understandable, even if his means themselves are violent.

But Eric’s pursuit of vengeance on his terms doesn’t cause him to have a blind eye to others who need help. He saves one girl from being hit by a car, and he later scolds her mother for essentially abandoning her; Eric motivates the woman, in his own way, to return home and be a proper mom to her daughter.

A policeman recognizes Eric, and the officer puts his life on the line to help him take down a couple of the villains. The same man is one of the few sympathetic characters in the film.

Eric encourages someone to try to see the metaphorical sun through the rain.

Spiritual Elements

The premise of The Crow is inherently spiritual. We’re told about a belief that crows carry the souls of the dead to their final resting place. However, if the soul carries a “terrible sadness,” that person won’t be able to find rest, and “the crow can bring that soul back to put the wrong things right.” According to the film, that’s what happened to Eric, as the crow is his link between the land of the living and realm of the dead.

Eric inherits supernatural powers in order to enact his revenge. He’s invincible to damage, as his wounds heal immediately. He can likewise see into the memories of others by touching them (and he can transmit them, too). He’s also able to see and hear whatever his crow can see or hear.

Eric tells a woman, “Mother is the name for God on the lips and hearts of all children,” a quote from William Makepeace Thackeray’s Vanity Fair. Another man quotes from John Milton’s Paradise Lost: “Abash, the devil stood and felt how awful goodness is.”

Eric tells a crude joke about Jesus’ crucifixion. Top Dollar shares advice his father gave him: “Every man’s got a devil, and you can’t rest ‘til you find him.” The ghost of a woman is seen. Top Dollar’s half-sister, Myca, performs a dark ritual by igniting an eyeball in a chalice.

We hear a reference to the Noahic flood as well as a general reference to an “act of God.” Top Dollar speaks about making a city fire so big that “the gods” would notice them.

Sexual Content

A woman’s breasts are visible in one scene. A couple of women’s bare backsides can be clearly seen, too. Other women are seen in bras or lingerie.

We’re told that a woman named Myca is engaged in an incestuous relationship with Top Dollar. A scene implies that a couple had sex. A woman staddles a man’s lap. A man imitates sex. Men and women kiss.

Violent Content

We see a few hazy flashbacks depicting Shelly’s rape. We catch glimpses as the woman is beaten, and we later see her laying on the ground covered in blood. Eric, meanwhile, is stuck with a knife and shot multiple times before being thrown out of a window. The crime kills both of them, though we’re told Shelly died after surviving another 30 hours of pain.

Eric, reanimated by his mystical crow, goes on a brutal killing spree. He stabs a man to death, causes another to die in a car explosion and sends a couple more men falling to their deaths. A couple dozen men are shot and killed. One person is shot in the thigh before being injected with a handful of drug syringes. Someone throws a woman’s severed eyeball at a man. A guy falls and is impaled on a gargoyle statue. Another lackey is stabbed through the head and then shot. A crow scratches and pecks at a woman’s face, blinding her and causing her to fall to her death. A knife pins a man’s hand to a table.

While Eric himself heals from his injuries, those wounds remain on his body for a moment before healing. Because of this, we briefly see a couple instances of grisly injuries, such as when a bullet is shot through his hand.

Buildings are set ablaze, and a couple of them explode. We see a car crash.

Crude or Profane Language

The f-word is used nearly 50 times (including a handful which are preceded by “mother”), and the s-word is heard more than 30 times. Other crude language includes uses of “a–,” “d–n,” “b–ch,” “h—” and “p-ss.” Crude language for male and female anatomy is heard, too. God’s name is used in vain seven times. Jesus’ name is likewise used inappropriately nearly 10 times.

A man is described as a “crackhead,” and another guy is called a “child molester.”

Drug and Alcohol Content

People use hard drugs: a man and woman shoot up with needles, and one man snorts cocaine. We hear a couple references to drugs, too. One woman is dead due to an overdose.

A man smokes a cigarette. People drink alcohol.

Other Negative Elements



This thirty-year-old comic book adaptation has garnered something of a cult following ever since its release, so much so that the film is getting a reboot in 2024. The Crow, which explores loss, love and revenge originally reached the top of the box office on its initial release—likely due at least in part to Brandon Lee’s tragic accidental death on set during the final days of filming.

But even while some see the gritty gothic realism of The Crow as the movie’s biggest boon, it’s undeniable that the vigilante hero faces a city so full of wicked crime that even Gotham would take notice.

This extreme violence isn’t hidden from audiences. The nudity, drug use and heavy language aren’t, either.

Some might argue that The Crow falls into the same category of vigilante heroes as Batman and Daredevil. But with all the goop and grime in The Crow, you won’t get to the end of this film—cult classic or not—feeling very heroic.

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Kennedy Unthank

Kennedy Unthank studied journalism at the University of Missouri. He knew he wanted to write for a living when he won a contest for “best fantasy story” while in the 4th grade. What he didn’t know at the time, however, was that he was the only person to submit a story. Regardless, the seed was planted. Kennedy collects and plays board games in his free time, and he loves to talk about biblical apologetics. He thinks the ending of Lost “wasn’t that bad.”