‘Hold the Dark’ Viewer Advisory


In the Netflix thriller “Hold the Dark,” wolf expert Russell Core (Jeffrey Wright) is called in to track and shoot the wolf who presumably took a young boy in a small Alaskan town.

But, much like “Wind River,” the hunt for a killer animal turns into a hunt for a killer human instead.

Are any animals killed in the film?



Per the credits, the film was monitored by the American Humane Association and earned their trademark endorsement phrase, “No animals were harmed.”

  • While Core tracks down a pack of wolves, he puts each of them in his sights, but decides not to shoot any of them. He sees them feeding on what appears to be a wolf cub: He later explains that when food is scarce, wolves may prey on their own young.
  • We hear about how wolves attacked two other children, but it’s never shown.
  • Later, when Core is severely wounded and abandoned in the wilderness, the same wolf pack gathers. He seems doomed to become their dinner, but he is rescued before they can attack.
  • A woman’s cat does end up chewing on her fingers after she is killed, a gruesome sight that Core comes across about halfway through the film.


  • During an extended shootout, three or four chained-up dogs (probably huskies) are on site, but none are shot that we see.
  • In an earlier flashback, Vernon (Alexander Skarsgard) and his son sit besides a dead deer. Vernon asks his son, “How did that feel [to kill it]?” and the boy answers, “It felt real good.” When the boy adds that his teacher says it’s bad to kill people, Vernon, who’s a soldier, explains that sometimes you have to kill people “to protect what you love and what you need.”

If you want an explanation of the ending,  ScreenRant breaks it down, as well as the strange relationship between Medora (Riley Keough) and Vernon, which is more detailed in the novel.






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