Harry returns for his second year of schooling at Hogwarts, the school for wizards. Shortly after the term begins Harry starts hearing a mysterious voice saying, ‘Kill, kill,’ which only he can hear. He then finds the caretaker’s cat Mrs Norris hanging upside down apparently dead. Fortunately she is not dead just ‘petrified’. There is a cure, but it will not be available until the Herbology class finishes growing Mandrakes, which have restorative properties. Later, two of the students are also found petrified. On each occasion, Harry hears the voice again.
It is apparent that the Chamber of Secrets has been opened by the heir of Slytherin. Slytherin was one of the four founders of the school. He left Hogwarts because he wanted to make the school available only to ‘pure’ wizards and witches, not ‘mudbloods’. Before he left he created a chamber where terrible evil lives. The teachers are fearful that they will have to close Hogwarts and send the students home.
The next victim to be petrified is Hermione, leaving Harry and Ron to solve the problem themselves. Harry overhears the teachers talking about a female student who has been taken into the chamber. The student is Ron’s younger sister Ginny, and Harry and Ron must try and rescue her. They finally manage to get into the Chamber where Harry comes face to face with the evil Basilisk, a monstrously large snake. Harry battles it out with the Basilisk. With the aid of Fawkes, Dumbledore’s pet phoenix and the Sorting Hat, Harry eventually wins. Ginny is saved and all turns out well.
Fantasy, horror and supernatural themes
There is some violence in the film, including:
- Dobby the house elf punishes himself and repeatedly bangs his head on a cupboard and hits himself with a light.
- When George Dursley tries to stop Harry from escaping, he falls from a second story window on to the ground but is not badly injured.
- In a Quidditch game, a ‘rogue bludger’ chases Harry all over the place. It eventually hits him, causing him to fall to the ground and break his arm.
- First Snape and Lockhart, then Harry and Draco have ‘wand duels’, causing injury to the victims.
- Huge hairy spiders attack Harry and Ron.
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
None of concern
Nudity and sexual activity
Ideas to discuss with your children
This movie is very well made. The graphics and special effects are excellent as is most of the acting. Professor Lockhart is very aptly portrayed as vain and fraudulent and other major characters such as Professor McGonagall, Dumbledore and Ron Weasley are all excellent. There is also much humour, which lightens the atmosphere.
The movie’s main message is that good triumphs over evil. Even when evil power is very strong, good still wins through cooperation and collaboration. This is something you might like to talk to your child about, as well as other values such as loyalty, courage, endurance, friendship. You could also talk about your own attitude to hating one’s enemies and disobeying rules, and the stereotypical portrayal of fat people as bullies.