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Including updates on the latest research carried out by the Office of Film & Literature Classification, media releases and other breaking news.
18 April 2020
Read our latest research report, Growing up with Porn - Insights from young New Zealanders Read more
18 April 2020
This page contains frequently asked questions and advice for parents who want to talk with their young people about pornography. Read more
07/05/2021 - R18: Violence Read more about Resident Evil: Village
What's it about? Resident Evil: Village is a first person horror game set in an alternate world of monsters and mystery. Players assume the role of Ethan Winters as he, his wife Mia, and baby daughter Rose settle into their new lives. However evil forces gather to target Rose, and Ethan finds himself stranded in a remote village under attack by lycanthropes. Facing the darkness, he sets out to rescue his daughter.
What to expect? Resident Evil: Village is a horror game that uses gory violence to shock and disturb. It also generates tension and horror from occult imagery, scenes of historic violence, and the bizarre mutations of its enemy creatures. Dark environments, cramped quarters, and a restrictive first-person view add to the sense of tension. Ethan is also a vocal character, with gasps of pain or fear adding additional realism. Alongside the sinister environments and supernatural enemies, graphic violence, cruelty, and injury are used to create a hostile tone. The casual viciousness of its antagonists, and the gory violence they inflict are particularly likely to shock and disturb younger audiences, including teenagers. For these reasons, Resident Evil: Village is restricted to adults aged 18 years and over.
06/05/2021 - M: Offensive language, sexual references and drug use Read more about Locked Down
What's it about? Locked Down tells the story of London couple (Paxton and Linda) who, despite having ended their 10-year relationship, are forced to live together due to COVID-19 restrictions. Delivery driver Paxton is despondent about his limited career opportunities whilst regional CEO Linda is conflicted over the amoral direction of her company. A fortunate set of coincidences gives them an opportunity for a fresh start but only if they steal a diamond worth millions.
What to expect? Locked Down is a film that melds together a topical relationship drama with a heist film. It deals with adult angst and is therefore unlikely to interest children. There are references to sex, violence and suicide, but these are all brief and limited in impact. Some drug use is framed in an unappealing manner that is unlikely to be replicated by young and impressionable viewers. The colloquial use of highly offensive language, whilst fairly regular, is also unlikely to cause serious or long-term harm to younger viewers. Locked Down is therefore classified as unrestricted, with a recommendation it is more suitable for mature audiences.
29/04/2021 - R16: Violence, cruelty and offensive language Read more about Wrath of Man
What’s it about? Wrath of Man is a Guy Ritchie-directed action film featuring Jason Statham as Patrick "H" Hill. H has started a new job as a guard for armoured security transport company Fortis. The company moves millions of dollars around Los Angeles and is dealing with a recent armed robbery that left two employees and an innocent bystander dead. Flashbacks reveal the real identity of H and the reason why he joins the company.
What to expect? Wrath of Man is a convoluted mix of revenge drama and a heist thriller, clearly intended for an audience of older teenagers and adults. It contains scenes of bloody violence and cruelty, and a strong depiction of torture-by-asphyxiation which is particularly likely to upset and disturb younger viewers. Exposure to this level of violence-as-entertainment is likely to have a desensitising effect on children and young teenagers. The portrayal of a violent criminal as a hero is also inherently problematic, as young impressionable audiences are unlikely to have the maturity or experience to contextualise such depictions. The use of highly offensive language in an aggressive manner further supports a restriction. However older teenagers are likely to have already been exposed to other films and shows with similar material thereby mitigating the effect on this audience. In light of these considerations Wrath of Man is restricted to viewers aged 16 years or older.
22/04/2021 - R16: Graphic violence and offensive language Read more about Mortal Kombat
What is it? Mortal Kombat is a live action reboot of the iconic video game franchise of the same name. The film focuses on Cole Young – a washed up MMA fighter who has a mysterious dragon insignia branded on his chest. Cole is tracked down by Jax Briggs and Sonja Blade who want to know more about the insignia. Sonja is holding a mercenary named Kano captive who also happens to be branded with the insignia. Fortunately they find Lord Raiden, Liu Kang and Kung Lao before long. Liu Kang and Kung Lao are preparing the Earthrealm for its biggest challenge yet. The Outworld sorcerer Shang Tsung is seeking to enslave the Earthrealm by killing all its fighters before the next tournament. Cole’s heritage may hold the key to defeating Shang Tsung and his merciless warrior Sub-Zero.
What to expect? Mortal Kombat is an entertaining live-action adaptation of the iconic video game franchise. It introduces a new heroic character to the Mortal Kombat universe and captures the origin stories of some of its established stars.
Whilst the games have generally been classified as R18 in New Zealand, older teenagers are likely to be aware of the content and the fantastical context of the film will further mitigate the impact on this audience. The film also lacks the interactivity of the games which tends to amplify the impact and effect. Furthermore, older teenagers will have already been exposed to other films and shows with material similar to that seen in this film.
12/04/2021 - R13: Violence, cruelty and sexual material Read more about Voyagers
What is it? Voyagers is a sci-fi thriller about a group of young astronauts travelling through space to colonise a new world in the wake of devastating climate change. Sela, Christopher, Zac and their crew have lived their lives in confinement to prepare them for spending their lives in a space ship. Only their children and grandchildren will see the new planet. When they discover they have been medicated to keep them placid, they stop taking ‘the blue’, resulting in an explosion of emotions and violence.
What to expect? Voyagers predominantly deals with sex, cruelty and violence. To a lesser degree some lighting and music horror conventions are used to create a sense of psychological tension, and verbal cruelty and bullying add to the hostile tone. Most of the sexual material is fleeting and unlikely to leave much of an impact on children. There is sexual harassment, which within the close confines of the ship is likely to unsettle some younger viewers. As this behaviour is roundly condemned, it is unlikely to negatively shape their attitudes to sex. However moments of cruel violence, particularly a scene where a crew member is senselessly beaten to death, in combination with the tense claustrophobic setting of the ship, are likely to shock and disturb children.
12/04/2021 - R13: Violence, cruelty, offensive language Read more about Ascendant
What's it about? Ascendant is an Australian thriller. It follows a young woman called Arya who wakes up bound and trapped in the high-speed elevator of a high-rise building that is still under construction. The lift is controlled by a man who tortures her by making the elevator go up and down. Video screens in the lift show him simultaneously torturing her father, who works for the CIA. Arya’s special powers are slowly revealed. Flashbacks show that these powers arise from her special connections with nature as a child.
What to expect? The slow-moving feature presents as a horror thriller with a fanciful scenario. It primarily deals with cruelty and violence, as well as some highly offensive language. While inherently cruel, the torture of Arya's father is obscured. Only an impression is created of the grizzly harm and cruelty presumably being inflicted - video interference stops the viewer from seeing any detail. Nonetheless the sustained focus on Arya's distress, and the implication of her increasingly bloodied father’s torture, remains likely to shock and disturb children.