A Questionable Decision…Director of latest Woman in Black film criticises the BBFC for its new rule that anything scary has to be 15 rated

Posted: 25 January, 2015 in BBFC, New Releases
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Woman Black Angel Death DVD The Woman in Black: Angel of Death is a 2015 UK horror thriller by Tom Harper.
Starring Helen McCrory, Jeremy Irvine and Phoebe Fox. YouTube icon BBFC link IMDb

The filmwas passed 15 uncut by theBBFC for strong horror, threat for UK cinema release in 2014.In the US it was rated PG-13 for some disturbing and frightening images, and for thematic elements.

Now the film’s director, Tom Harper, has sharply criticised the BBFC over its decision to give his Hammer horror sequel a 15 certificate.

Harper questioned the grounds on which the classification for the horror sequel was made. Harper told Screen:

Personally, I was disappointed it ( Angel Of Death ) was a 15 There was no blood, no swearing. Obviously, there are some uncomfortable scenes within it. It was always intended to be a 12A.

The director said the filmmakers were presented by the BBFC with a whole long list of – to my opinion – questionable reasons as to why Angel Of Death was made a 15 rather than a 12A, eg one of the moments highlighted by the BBFC was a lady appears behind a door and a door slams .

The original The Woman In Black, directed by James Watkins and starring Daniel Radcliffe, was certificated 12A in 2011 and its success in attracting a young teenage audience contributed to its becoming the most successful UK horror movie ever at the British box office. The BBFC received a few complaints that it was a bit scary and so introduced a new rule that even if a film is not violent it can receive a 15 rating for being scary (for eg doors slamming).

The BBFC explained its 15 rating:

There is strong and sustained threat and horror throughout, as people are threatened and attacked by the title character. Much of the threat is towards children and there is sight of both dead children and children who are forced to harm themselves by the ghost. There are scenes of wartime threat, relating to the Blitz, and nightmare sequences featuring strong threat. There is some impression of blood on bodies and in medical contexts.

Even with the 15 certificate, The Woman In Black: Angel Of Death did strong business at the UK box office and has made an estimated $7m since its release at the start of the year.


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