Young children were left frightened and in tears when a cinema mistakenly screened the trailer for 15-rated horror film The Devil Inside – a “found footage” movie about possession and exorcism – ahead of the U-certificate animated feature they had been taken to see.
The trailer, shown before a screening of Puss in Boots, featured graphic scenes of a girl with demonic eyes covered in cuts and a woman with dislocated limbs. A preview of Nicolas Cage’s upcoming 12A-rated film, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, about a demon motorcyclist with a flaming skull for a head, was also shown.
One parent said his four-year-old daughter “was extremely frightened by what were exceptionally strong images, even by adult standards… I tried to cover her eyes”, while another added, “It was every parent’s nightmare – kids watching exorcism trailers.”
Cineworld Wandsworth’s deputy manager stopped the trailers and apologised to furious parents. A spokesperson for the cinema chain said the incident was the result of “genuine human error” and said all customers affected had been offered complimentary tickets.
“We take matters such as this very seriously and are currently assessing the process to see how the procedure can be improved to ensure this doesn’t happen again,” said the spokesperson.
Wandsworth Council is investigating the incident after receiving a complaint.