It’s no secret that kids are easily rattled. At age two, kids are afraid of being left alone. At age five, kids are afraid of what’s under the bed. At age eight, kids are afraid of their first day of school. At age twelve, kids are afraid of getting zits on their face. So there’s nothing more unsettling in the media when a film marketed towards kids features intentionally frightening images. It’s a complex study of psychology: children’s minds are developed in a certain way by how old they are, and it means they are more easily frightened by those who are older. This movie in particular probably necessitated the more unsettling images, but in the way that it was marketed, the two clash disastrously with one another.
I myself remember getting scared of popping balloons, ventriloquist dummies and marionette puppets, but for some reason it took a lot to get me rattled by something I saw on TV (not even the pink elephants in Dumbo scared me- and that’s coming from me as a four-year-old). But in the case of other kids with autism, there are plenty of things that could scare them easily, and these fears are far more sensitive than kids without autism.