For too long, little kids have been denied the pleasure of witnessing, appreciating, and knowing the existential despair that comes from watching a Charlie Kaufman movie. No longer! Kaufman’s latest screenplay is an existential meditation on mortality for the whole family — the animated movie Orion and the Dark, which is coming soon to Netflix.

Based on the book by Emma Yarlett, the movie stars Jacob Tremblay and Paul Walter Hauser as the two title characters, who feature in a story (for kids!) about one of Kaufman’s favorite preoccupations, namely learning to live with anxiety.

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Kaufman has worked in animation before; he wrote and co-directed Anomalisa in 2015. But that was a stop-motion film that was definitely intended for a mature audience. (It features a stop-motion puppet sex scene, for example.) This is, like a Charlie Kaufman kids movie. After that watch it, you can let them go straight into Being John Malkovich as a double feature. They’ll love that.

Here is the film’s official synopsis:

Orion seems a lot like your average elementary school kid –– shy, unassuming, harboring a secret crush. But underneath his seemingly normal exterior, Orion is a ball of adolescent anxiety, completely consumed by irrational fears of bees, dogs, the ocean, cell phone waves, murderous gutter clowns, even falling off a cliff. But of all his fears, the thing he’s the most afraid of is what he confronts on a nightly basis: the dark. So when the literal embodiment of his worst fear pays a visit, Dark whisks Orion away on a roller coaster ride around the world to prove there is nothing to be afraid of in the night. As the unlikely pair grow closer, Orion must decide if he can learn to accept the unknown –– to stop letting fear control his life and finally embrace the joy of living.

Orion and the Dark premieres on Netflix on February 2.

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Gallery Credit: Claire Epting