Flatliners trailer deemed too ‘violent’ for broad audiences by ad watchdog

The trailer for the thriller film Flatliners remake has been deemed too ‘violent’ for a broad audience, the Ad Standards board has ruled.

Aired during on-demand episodes of Seven’s family program Little Big Shots, the trailer sparked a complaint to the Ad Standards Board because it contained “graphically portrayed violent scenes including someone being suffocated with a plastic bag”.

“It was shown before “little big shots” a show my children were watching. I don’t think it’s appropriate to attach to this shoe [sic],” another complaint said.

Flatliners is a movie about a group of medical students who attempt to stop their hearts for a short period of time to trigger near-death experiences.

Responding to the complaints Sony Pictures said both of the 30 second commercials labeled “Mind Tricks” and “Questions” were approved and delivered by Yahoo7 for pre-roll ad placements on Plus7 streaming programs.

Sony Entertainment also mentioned the ads do not “portray violence out of context to the M rated (no age restrictions) movie being advertised”.

The Ad Standards Board noted the trailers included scenes which show people using defibrillator paddles and a woman driving with a plastic bag stretched across her face.

However, the Board noted the ads are “not especially gory but contains violent images” and the spots do not show anyone dying but include young adults conducting the experiments.

“Although these scenes are all brief and are clearly in the context of a movie in the Board’s view it is content which would cause alarm and distress to children and in the Board’s view would also cause alarm and distress to many adults,” the Board said upholding the complaint.

The ad watchdog recently upheld a similar complaint for the horror film IT.


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