Generally favorable reviews - based on 37 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 26 out of 37
  2. Negative: 5 out of 37
  1. Reviewed by: Lou Lumenick
    Dec 9, 2011
    In this pretentious art-house downer version of "The Bad Seed," the only surprise is that the folks didn't ship the little monster off to the looney bin before he reached puberty.
  2. Reviewed by: Ed Gonzalez
    Dec 4, 2011
    The purpose of Lynne Ramsay's hodgepodge approach is to distract us from the flimsiness of a story that suggests a snide art-house take on "The Omen."
  3. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Mar 8, 2012
    Ramsay delivers an overdirected, conceptually obnoxious art film that's torture to sit through, listen to, and think about.
  4. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    Mar 1, 2012
    It is a very good performance in a very bad movie.
  5. Reviewed by: Rex Reed
    Nov 30, 2011
    This is the most unwatchable horror movie masquerading as social comment I have seen this year.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 113 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 28 out of 35
  2. Negative: 4 out of 35
  1. Jan 21, 2012
    Less a "Bad Seed" rehash than an indictment of contemporary parenting skills, "Kevin" made my skin crawl on many levels. The outer need for perfection while the interior is crumbling, the idea that because a couple CAN have a child, they should, the unwillingness to actually TALK about Kevin... all of this leads to the creation of monster--but that creation is inevitable. Far smarter than most will give this film for, see it and watch it carefully. Until the final, horrific moments, is Kevin the monster, or are his parents? Who created whom? This is a chilling film guaranteed to haunt, and Swinton's performance is perfection. Understated and genuine, she is genius. Full Review »
  2. Mar 3, 2013
    A movie where the horror has a purpose to expose the extent of a mother's love. The style is top-notch and the substance is unique. Did I learn anything from it? Well, if I didn't know already, it'd show me an example of how mothers can forgive everything and always love their child, and that it's one of the true graces in life. Full Review »
  3. Jun 1, 2012
    I found this film kind of a mess. Arty in its silences and temporal jumps, artless in its sledgehammer symbolism (an alternate title could be "We Need to Talk About Kevin's Intake of Food That Looks Like Blood and Body Parts"), the film asks much of viewers but doesn't reward our patience. Anyone who can't predict exactly what will happen--including the weapon and a rough body count--is in the next theater viewing a different movie; I kept watching because some of these "oops, wrong theater" folk wrote reviews in major papers, reviews promising a big surprise. Oh well. But yes, the acting is wonderful, and the nature/nurture question genuinely fascinating. With a stronger script and fewer pretensions, this film could have been truly compelling. Full Review »