A FOOT amputation scene that was not “excessive or gratuitous”, a ban on a child going to see The Suicide Squad and one person’s “terror and guilt” at bringing their child to see an unexpectedly violent movie were among the criticisms received by the Irish Film Censor last year.
However, the number of complaints to the Irish Film Classification Office (IFCO) tumbled, with cinemas forced to close for long periods due to Covid-19 restrictions.
Figures from IFCO reveal that while 20 formal complaints were lodged in 2019, there have been only nine since then.
They included only three last year, with one parent saying they felt “irresponsible” after bringing their 12-year-old son and nine-year-old daughter to see the film Free Guy.
They wrote: “I went through emotions of terror and guilt at bringing my kids to this movie as constant violence and language unfolded on the screen.”
The parent wrote that eventually her son turned to her and said: “Mammy, I don’t like this movie, it’s scary and too violent.”
“At that point, I decided, right, let’s get out of here,” the woman added.
She went home and again watched the trailer for the film with her husband, but said it gave no sense of what was in store.
“There were no signs from the trailer of the violence and killings and language it contained,” she said.
“It was a very stressful experience and I simply ask that you pay particular interest to movies like this in the future and to be extremely careful in selecting their age appropriateness.”
Another family had the opposite complaint after their 13-year-old son was refused entry to The Suicide Squad, which was rated 16.
“What world are you people living in?” the father complained. “He was with me and his mother but still wasn’t allowed to enter.
“I think you people want to totally destroy the film industry. There is nothing in The Suicide Squad, so how on earth could you rate it 16?”
The man said “stupid decisions” had ruined their night, and it should be up to parents to decide what their children can and cannot see.
Another complaint said horror movie In the Earth had been harshly given a classification for only those over 18.
It read: “While undoubtedly graphic and unpleasant, the foot amputation scene was in a medical context and, compared to other psychedelic/horror films like Midsommar (with graphic, close-up scenes of faces and legs being smashed), I don’t think the violence here was nearly as excessive or gratuitous.”
The complaint said that for a film with “heavy psychedelic elements” such as In the Earth, a 16 rating would have been more suitable.
A spokesperson said: “IFCO welcomes such input, and this feedback informs any re-evaluation of classification guidelines and age bands, ensuring that they are properly reflective of the public expectation of the office.”