In his Sundance review, The A.V. Club’s own A.A. Dowd said that Ari Aster’s horror film Hereditary was “pure emotional terrorism,” noting that he spent most of the film “in a state of deep distress.” It sounds like the sort of harrowing experience that viewers should be adequately prepared for before they settle in to watch Hereditary, but apparently even the trailer was scary enough to terrify a theater full of kids in Australia. As reported by The Sydney Morning Herald, a recent screening of Peter Rabbit was disrupted when a reel of commercials before the movie included the trailer for Hereditary.
The trailer is loaded with a mega-spooky imagery, including a kid cutting off a bird’s head and a boy smashing his face into a desk (not to mention the “who’s gonna take care of me when you die” scene), and a parent who was at the Peter Rabbit showing said that the audience—which included “at least 40 children”—immediately began yelling for the projectionist to turn it off, with parents “covering their kids’ eyes and ears” from the unnerving horror unfolding on the screen.
Some of the parent seven ran out to yell at an employee, but “she was overwhelmed and didn’t really know what to do” until a senior staff member arrived and shut the screen off. Everyone in the audience got passes to a free movie, but the parent who spoke with The Sydney Morning Herald shared an even spookier twist: The free passes were already expired. In the end, a scary movie can’t really hurt you, but a frustrating customer service experience will haunt you for eternity.