Cody is not 10 years old here, but at least 12 and probably 13 or 14, starring Henry Thomas on the cusp of adolescence. I was rather disappointed in his acting here. Apparently the director called for a characterization outwardly so low-ley and stoical as to mumble his lines-- alas ending a great child-acting career not with a bang but a whimper. I'd rate this film PG, sincerely advising "parental guidance" for viewers 10 and under on account of a story and atmosphere so uniquely creepy that it could cause nightmares for a sensitive child. But that is actually all to the film's credit. It is easily an unforgettable experience, both gorgeous and chilling, to get under your skin and stay there. Many at IMDB have reported their gratitude for having found once again a movie first seen as a youngster which has haunted their memory ever since, and it intrigues them all over again as grownups. Though of course it will not be to everyone's taste, I give it 4 stars out of 6. Aficionados might also appreciate "Picnic at Hanging Rock", "The Earthling" (both also set in Australia), Shyamalan's "The Village", and the 2003 Russian "Vozvrashcheniye" (The Return) for similarly eerie evocations of mysterious, remote wilderness sites-- in the last case, one which tragically claimed the life of its young star only days after filming.
Time Out saysSomething's alive at the bottom of an uncharted pond, and 10-year-old adventurer Cody (Henry Thomas of ET) is determined to find it. Director Trenchard-Smith sets the action of this children's movie (involving aboriginal magic) in a remote town in southern Australia, constructing the parallel worlds of doting adults and their irrepressible children as a foundation for his adventure in minutiae. The real adventure, however, is Trenchard-Smith's rediscovery of boyhood, with all its inventiveness, innocence and independent, fearless strength.