Parental Guide (RUBBER)

Sex & Nudity

A woman is seen naked, from behind, but it’s through two doors, and in the point-of-view of a killer tire, so it’s not really anything you can do much with.


Not excessive, and what’s there’s mostly from the ‘spectators’—the embedded horror-movie audience meant to offer the same objections we would, or already are, thereby anticipating and perhaps deflating those objections (think the pirate contingent in the theater watching Spongebob, or the Woody-Allen-ish ‘chorus’ offering their commentary on the various goings-on, or even the narrator-cum-singer in Dead & Breakfast, etc.  Not at all an uncommon conceit, the problem only arising when/if the our stand-ins in the movie are only there to pad it out, or make it ‘smart’ and art-housy). However, those objections: a tire in a music montage? Specifically, a psychokinetic tire with malicious intent (and still a lot of tread) and a taste for blood and NASCAR getting the soft-focus, Baywatch kind of musical interlude?

Violence & Gore

A bottle is graphically decapitated in the opening scenes (the ‘ blood sacrifice’ all true horror needs to properly begin), and various insects and small animals are similarly sacrificed, largely just to establish for us this killer tire’s capabilities and proclivities, but, in the scorpion’s death, say, the intent would also seem to be to show us that moviemakers have done their homework (it’s updated Peckinpah).

Once things move to town, though, the animals are safe, and all subsequent head explosions—the tire’s main method, and not at all unpleasing—would seem to owe more either to Tom Savini’s special effect in Maniac or to the central device in Scanners, though rendered here in much more loving detail. As for the plot, though, the trailer would make you think slasher, and the tire’s glanced-at backstory would seem to support that, though if this is a slasher, it’s more of the Duel or Hitcher variety, almost as if the vehicles in that crashed and burned, but, had we sat in the audience long enough, we’d see a tire come rolling from those flames, not so much Chucky-style as in homage to the Denzel Washington/John Goodman Fallen, or perhaps Madison Smartt Bell’s Close Your Eyes (aka ‘Dr. Sleep’).

Frightening/Intense Scenes

Unless metafiction fundamentally unmoors you or shakes your confidence in a consensual reality, Rubber should be pretty tame. If your tolerance for those kind of narrative hijinks is up enough to laugh at Blazing Saddles riding through the fourth wall, though, then this should be right up your alley (unless of course you’re of the contingent who suspects that metafiction is what you do when you don’t have confidence in the core story, so try to dress it up in various in-jokey ways, so as to distract us from the donut hole in the middle of the story. Some people just like the sprinkles, though. They’re not nutritious, no, but they do go down well, and make you smile, and there’s lines built in as guide, like “Stop acting like this is real life,” and, even the title, doesn’t it already put you in the arthouse? It’s very Jarmusch, very Hartley).

Alcohol/Drug Use

Negligible, unless of course you take into account the mass amounts surely ingested to want to update Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, just with a tire, while at the same time—perhaps inadvisedly?—trying to keep enough self-awareness on-screen (think Magnum PI, smiling into the camera one too many times) to maintain some independent cinema cred.


Author: SGJ