Daniel Radcliffe went straight from playing Harry Potter to The Woman in Black, an intense period ghost story that wound up a major box-office success for the legendary Hammer Film Productions. But while the film earned both money and a fair amount of critical acclaim, it also garnered more complaints than any other film so far this year. But what for?
Since its release, the film has been reported to the British Board of Film Classification (the U.K.'s film ratings group) 120 times by parents and other adults who found it "too scary" for kids. See, the film is rated 12A in the U.K., the same rating that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 earned, and since it stars Harry Potter himself, parents expected to be able to show it to their kids with Potter-like results and instead got ... something else.
"The main gist of the complaints was that people felt it was too scary for a 12A," a BBFC spokesperson said. "People have a certain expectations about films with Daniel Radcliffe in them."
Apparently some people actually do expect him to be a boy wizard for the rest of his life.
No one was asking that the film be banned, but complaints did focus on the idea that it might have been rated too low. But though some parents were miffed that the film's content was seen by their kids (a central plot point involves a female ghost who kills children), the BBFC did warn them. The organization provides content advisories for every film it rates, and here's what it wrote about The Woman in Black:
"The general tone of the film is quite bleak and the premise of a ghost manipulating children into harming or killing themselves, make this a potentially disturbing feature for young children."
But that didn't stop Woman in Black from earning three times the number of complaints than the most complained-about flick last year. That film, by the way, was Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan, which received 40 complaints, many of them from people who thought the dark film would be more about ballet. The most complained-about film in the history of the BBFC, in case you were wondering, was The Dark Knight, which got more than 300 complaints after its 2008 release.
Either people thought the Joker was just too disturbing for a film of that rating, or they were really concerned that Batman needed a cough drop.