Plugged In exists to shine a light on the world of popular entertainment while giving you and your family the essential tools you need to understand, navigate and impact the culture in which we live. Through reviews, articles and discussions, we want to spark intellectual thought, spiritual growth and a desire to follow the command of Colossians 2:8: "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ."


Family uses Plugged In as a ‘significant compass’

"I am at a loss for words to adequately express how much it means to my husband and me to know that there is an organization like Focus that is rooting for us. Just today I was reading Psalm 37 and thinking about how your ministry provides ways to 'dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.' We have two teenagers and an 8-year-old in our household...Plugged In has become a significant compass for our family. All three of our kids are dedicated to their walk with Christ but they still encounter challenges. Thanks for all of your research and persistence in helping us navigate through stormy waters."

Plugged In helps college student stand-up for his belief

"Thanks for the great job you do in posting movie and television reviews online. I’m a college freshman and I recently had a confrontational disagreement with my English professor regarding an R-rated film. It is her favorite movie and she wanted to show it in class. I went to your Web site to research the film’s content. Although I had not seen the movie myself, I was able to make an educated argument against it based on the concerns you outlined. The prof said that she was impressed by my stand and decided to poll the whole class and give us a choice. We overwhelmingly voted to watch a G-rated movie instead! I’ve learned that I can trust your site and I will be using it a lot in the future.”

Plugged In brings ‘Sanity and Order’ to Non-believer

“Even though I don’t consider myself a Christian, I find your Plugged In Web site useful and thought-provoking. No one reviews movies like you do. Instead of being judgmental, you put entertainment ‘on trial.’ After presenting the evidence, you allow the jury of your readers to decide for themselves what they should do. In my opinion, you bring sanity and order to the wild world of modern day entertainment. Keep up the good work!”

Mom thinks Plugged In is the ‘BEST Christian media review site’

"Our family doesn't go to the movies until we go online and check out your assessment of a given film. I think this is the BEST Christian media review website that I've found, and I recommend it to my family and friends. Keep up the good work!"


Our hope is that whether you're a parent, youth leader or teen, the information and tools at Plugged In will help you and your family make appropriate media decisions. We are privileged to do the work we do, and are continually thankful for the generosity and support from you, our loyal readers, listeners and friends.

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Game Review

Glistening eel-like tentacles sprout from my shoulder blades and hover in anticipation above a gunned-down thug. Razor-sharp teeth gnashing, the two snarling appendages glower back at me, awaiting a command. When I give it, they rip the victim's chest open and fight to devour his gore-dripping heart.

Displayed in a crystal clear 1080i HD picture with 5.1 surround sound, this is 2K's video game The Darkness.

It's a first-person shooter that tells the story of Jackie Estacado, a New York City hit man who receives two surprises on his 21st birthday. He finds out he's been marked for death by his mob boss uncle. And he's suddenly possessed by a demon. Now that's a rough day.

You start with a car chase shoot-out that raises more questions than it answers. As Jackie, you blast your way through a few of Uncle Paulie's Mafia-like operations to figure out why the big man has suddenly turned hostile. You also move to protect Jackie's girlfriend, Jenny, who's now on the mob's hit list, thanks to you. Then there's this evil supernatural thing that's constantly whispering in your ear. That needs looking into as well. But first, there's an army of mob goons and corrupt cops to deal with. So gaming action boils down to doing two things: piecing together intricate story clues and killing everything that moves.

So Many Ways to Die
Besides battling through the city streets with pistols, shotguns and automatic weapons, gamers are also endowed with special occult powers. The sinister otherworldly parasite attached to you manifests itself as the aforementioned snakelike creatures, and when you feed its insatiable lust for human hearts, you're rewarded with new endowments. For instance, a demon arm attack materializes as a big, sharp appendage that can be thrust through enemies. And a black hole attack allows gamers to suck enemies into, uh, a black hole.

In addition, you gain the know-how to summon little evil minions that climb out of steaming pits in the ground. These sadistic goops come in various flavors, including Kamikaze darklings that explode on contact, Gunner darklings that carry a Gatling gun and a Berserker darkling that attacks, eviscerates and urinates on your enemies.

Gamers also "die" in the course of the game and are teleported into the past to a hellish World War I battlefield that's filled with tortured victims, zombies and bloody carnage. It's there that a suffering, crucified man reveals the philosophical core of the game: Before the beginning of time, The Darkness existed and nothing else before it.

God, therefore, never was.

The game's creators attempt to give Jackie a virtuous center as he works to protect his girlfriend and aunt, but there is no real moral conflict here. It's only evil within evil against evil. A demonic entity rules the spirit world while corrupt humans rule the living. Goodness slips through in the form of two scriptures printed on the wall of a burned-out orphanage (John 14:6 and Matthew 28:20). But blink and you'll miss them. It's a token gesture, easily eclipsed by the harshest of obscenities that fill the dialogue (f-words, s-words, etc.) and the unholy grotesqueries that fill the screen.

Highly-Rated Blackness
The Darkness has gained critical acclaim for its imagery, creative storyline and excellent voice work. Gamestop.com, for instance, ranked it among its top five PlayStation 3 games, and IGN.com called it a "wonderfully gruesome adventure." But when I laid my controller down after my first couple hours of "play," it wasn't the visuals or story that stuck with me. Rather, I was left with an emotional gloom that weighed on me like a wet—dark—blanket.

Yes, it's only a video game and intended to be entertainment. But something can be so pitch-black—figuratively, spiritually and literally—that it's hard to find anything entertaining about it. I dislike the thought of anyone even dipping a virtual toe in this ebony pool, much less wading in and going for a swim.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements


Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles



Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Get weekly e-news, Culture Clips & more!