Australian Council on Children and the Media

Seventh Son

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Not recommended under 15 (violence; disturbing scenes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Seventh Son
  • a review of Seventh Son completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 12 March 2015.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 15 Not recommended due to violence and disturbing scenes
Children aged 15 and over OK for this age group

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Seventh Son
Classification: M
Consumer advice lines: Fantasy themes, violence and infrequent coarse language
Length 102 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

The film’s opening scene depicts witch hunter Master Gregory (Jeff Bridges) imprisoning  an evil shape-shifting witch, Mother Malkin (Julianne Moore), in a deep prison on top of a mountain where she will hopefully remain for the rest of time.

Decades pass and with the rising of the “Blood Moon” Mother Malkin becomes infused with new found power and escapes her imprisonment, bent on seeking revenge against Gregory. It is not long before Gregory and Mother Malkin engage in battle, with Mother Malkin killing Gregory’s apprentice William Bradley (Kit Harington) and escaping to her mountain fortress.

After the death of William, Gregory searches for a new apprentice who must be the seventh son of a seventh son. Tomas Ward (Ben Barnes) is given the position. Unbeknown to Master Gregory, Tom has supernatural powers that enable him to see visions of the future as a result of his mother being a witch.

With his new apprentice in tow, Gregory sets off to hunt down and destroy Mother Malkin who is gathering together a host of demonic minions. Along the way Tom encounters a beautiful young woman named Alice (Alicia Vikander) and the pair quickly fall for each other.     

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Supernatural powers; good and evil; demonic possession

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

The film contains extended sequences of intense fantasy violence, including the use of swords, knives, staffs, axes, and chains. There are multiple violent deaths, at times gruesome although minimal blood and gore are depicted. Examples include:

  • A stylised and comical fight between a younger man and an older intoxicated man during which we see the older man hitting the younger man in the groin, face and body with a tankard full of beer. The younger man makes several attempts to strike the older man with his sword but fails to connect and he is finally hit in the head with the tankard and falls to the ground unconscious.   
  • A gigantic ferocious bear imprisoned in a cage breaks out and attacks two men. It then transforms into a man and attacks one of the men with the two exchanging kicks and punches. The cage crashes down on top of the bear/man and another man wraps a chain around his throat, chaining him to the floor. A cauldron of oil is poured over the bear/man and it is set on fire burning him alive; we see flames and hear the bear/man screaming.
  • A witch uses her tail to impale a warrior through the back and he bursts into flames and turns to ash.
  • Two men are chased by a monster.  They jump off a high cliff and into a river below to escape.  The monster jumps off the cliff in pursuit, snatching up one of the men in its giant hand and dragging the man beneath the water. The man stabs the monster in the hand and then in the back as they are swept over a high waterfall. The man survives the fall but the monster is brutally killed when his head is bashed against rocks as he falls.
  • Several witches fly through the air and then attack a city by crashing through a heavy wooden gate. The witches transform into dragons, gigantic lizards and multiple armed warriors and attack and kill people at random. A giant lizard and a dragon pick up men in their jaws and swallow them (no blood is depicted). A warlock with four arms wields four swords, attacking and killing men. A witch impales a snake-man against a pole and he explodes in flames and disintegrates.    
  • In a major clash between witches and warlocks, and witch-hunters we see a witch with long fingernails stab someone in the throat with her talons. A young man smashes another man in the face several times with the handle of his sword. A dagger is thrown at the head of another man, stabbing him between his eyes. We see numerous dead bodies lying on the ground and a young man with some blood on his face, throat and neck.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • There are numerous scary fantasy beasts and monsters, and witches and warlocks who transform into monsters. These include a witch who transforms into a skeletal winged dragon with long talons and sharp needle-like teeth, a warrior with four arms who wields four swords at once and a gigantic ferocious bear which transforms several times into a man and back into a bear. 
  • Several scenes depict ghosts that appear as transparent corpses that float through the air and dissipate like smoke blowing away in the wind.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes and scary visual images, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged five to eight, including the following:

  • A ten-year-old girl who is possessed by a demon is chained to a stone pillar.  A man places a chain around the young girl’s throat and black smoke-like tendrils escape from her body.     
  • In one scene we see a woman wearing a metal mask. We hear that she had been burnt and when she removes the mask her face appears as though made of white ash. When a witch touches the face, the skin spontaneously heals and her face becomes youthful looking.
  • A young man lifts the visor of a suit of armour and we see a human skull within. The armour begins to glow red and becomes animated with red glowing eyes. It then attacks the young man.
  • In one scene a witch offers another witch a “Blood cake” and we see what appears to be a tart filled with congealed blood with wriggling worms squirming around in the tart. The witch takes a bite and licks her fingers.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Children in this age group are also likely to be disturbed by the violent and scary scenes described above.

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Younger children in this age group may also likely be disturbed by some of the violent and scary scenes described above.

Product placement

None of concern

Sexual references

Some mild flirting and talk about love

Nudity and sexual activity

  • Women wearing low cut and clinging clothing
  • Passionate kissing
  • A young man and a young woman lie together on a bed - both are clothed but the implication is that they have had sex
  • Two men are scene from the back urinating on a fire

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • One scene depicts a tavern filled with people, many of whom are drinking from tankards. Gregory is seen drinking from a tankard and acting in an intoxicated manner, slurring his words and stumbling around.
  • Gregory carries a hip flask and says he is allowed only one mouthful a day.

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  •  ‘fucking’; ‘damn’

In a nutshell

Seventh Son is a fantasy action adventure which is a very loose adaptation of The Last Apprentice book series by Joseph Delaney, but appears to be aimed at a more mature audience than the books, being targeted at older teens and adult fans of fantasy films. There are a number of scary characters and scenes of transformations and violent deaths which are likely to disturb younger viewers, including many younger teenagers.

The main messages from this movie are:

  • Most of life’s curses can also be gifts
  • You can’t escape your destiny
  • Live your own life - don't always follow imposed rules

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • Persistence: Gregory never gives up his relentless fight against evil
  • Selflessness: Tom’s mother, who is a witch, selflessly places herself in danger to protect those who cannot protect themselves and sacrifices her own life to protect others.    

Parents may wish to discuss the gender stereotyping in the film.

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