There’s probably a reason why we don’t often see needles in a children’s movie. Unless it’s a horror movie.
Matilda Is a horror movie with a happy ending (sort of)
In general, Roald Dahl stories can get very dark. Willy Wonka and the chocolate factory features a grown man who “gets rid of” a group of filthy children. It’s like Seen, but with sweets. The witches sees a group of women with body issues turn children into mice, and The BFG is about an abused orphan who gets kidnapped by a giant who turns out to be the only friendly giant among a group of evil child-eating giants. Dahl is truly one of the greatest children’s storytellers of all time.
So there is Matildaa story that’s been noted for its dark undertones as well as Dahl’s classic “adult terrible” trope, but I’d say there’s more horror to Matilda than just the universal notion of shitty parents. In fact, when you start comparing Matilda’s story to that of horror master Stephen King’s classic, Carrieit’s surprising how much these two tales have in common.
Remember how in carrie, our main character was bullied at school and abused at home? Yeah, same with Mathilde. Do you remember how, as her mother scolded her yet again, Carrie couldn’t take it anymore and her telekinetic superpowers were activated? It’s literally this whole scene in Matilda: