Australian Council on Children and the Media

Nowhere Boys: The Book of Shadows

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Not recommended under 10; parental guidance 10 – 12; Suitable for 12 year olds and over (sci-fi action violence; supernatural and magical themes; scary scenes).

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Nowhere Boys: The Book of Shadows
  • a review of Nowhere Boys: The Book of Shadows completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 6 January 2016.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 10 Not recommended
Children 10 - 12 Parental guidance recommended
Children 12 and over Suitable 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: Nowhere Boys: The Book of Shadows
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Contains mild supernatural threat and scary scenes.
Length 82 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Nowhere Boys, the ABC sci-fi/fantasy/drama TV series aimed at ‘tweens’ and teens, follows the adventures of four teen boys: Felix (Dougie Boldwin), Andy (Joel Lok), Sam (Rahart Adams) and Jake (Matt Testro), who find themselves stranded in a parallel universe. In the film Nowhere Boys: The Book of Shadows, the four boys have been back in their own reality for over a year having battled demons and discovered the use of magic. The boys have drifted apart however, and are on the verge of going their separate ways when Felix discovers a secret book of magic, the Book of Shadows, concealed under floorboards in a hidden room. In their bid to go their separate ways, the four boys employ magic from the Book of Shadows to help them. However, in the process, they unwittingly unleash the forces of Chaos in the form of a teen girl named Tegan (Angourie Rice), who has a giant sized chip on her shoulder and a thirst for revenge. Tegan uses her powers to entangle and endanger family and friends in chaos and disaster, her powers threaten the very existence of the multiverse. In order to defeat chaos and restore order the four boys are forced into a final showdown with Tegan with the fate of the multiverse hanging in the balance.      

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.

Magic; Fantasy; the Supernatural; Demons; Friendship; Revenge;

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 some low-level action violence and peril related to supernatural and magical events; no blood and gore nor injuries are depicted. Examples include:  

  • Four male teens attempt to use magic when a bright light explodes out of a book followed by a floating ball of magical fire/energy/light that strikes a boy in the face burning off one of his eyebrows. A floating magical ball of water appears and strikes a second teen boy in the face while a third boy manages to twist his ankle. 
  • A girl throws a rolled up newspaper at a boy; the paper doesn’t strike the boy. 
  • One scene depicts a push and shove match between two boys. In a later scene one boy punches a second boy in the face; no injury is depicted.
  • In a couple of scenes a girl uses magical powers to create mini earthquakes that knock several teens off their feet; no injuries occur.
  • A girl uses magical powers to make a bubble of water appear around a boy’s head and we see the boy struggle to breathe; the bubble bursts with no injury occurring.
  • A girl uses magic to bind a boy in bandages as though an Egyptian Mummy; the boy is uninjured.
  • A girl use magical powers to throw a boy backwards, crashing through a brush fence and a second boy is knocked off his feet; no injuries are depicted.
  • A girl uses magical powers to set school lockers on fire.
  • In one perilous scene, a ceiling beam falls on top of a boy pinning him to the ground; no injuries are depicted.
  • In a schoolyard a girl uses magic to make rubbish fly out of rubbish bins and fall over students.
  • A girl threatens to tear the universe apart. She also threatens to harm a boy by saying “Wouldn’t it be more fun if I could just crush him”. 

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 several scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • The shadowy/demon like creatures, which crawl out of the ground like corpses emerging from a grave.
  • A black swirling tornado-like shadow erupts out of the ground with a girl magically appearing out of the ground and shadow. 
  • On several occasions throughout the film a girl speaks in a demonic-like language/voice to invoke magic.
  • Several adults appear to be possessed by evil spirits and have red glowing eyes and behave in a zombie like fashion.

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:

  • In several scenes a boy is depicted holding a magical ball of fire/energy.
  • In one scene a bright light explodes from a book of magic.
  • Several scenes depict inky, shadowy demon-like creatures (similar to creatures depicted in   Harry Potter films) crawling out of the ground as if corpses emerging from a grave with the shadow creatures chasing, threatening and attacking a group of teens.
  • In several scenes a boy steps through a giant magical ring/circle of fire/light/energy, a portal to an alternate universe.
  • A swarm of (magically conjured) bees attack a group of teens in a schoolyard with students screaming and running away to avoid the swarming bees. 
  • A girl uses magical fire to heat the ground. The ground glows red hot with streaks of molten lava running through it.
  • A hole magically appears in the ground (a portal to another universe), which sucks the surrounding ground into it and people are sucked towards the hole. A girl is sucked into the hole and disappears as if vaporised by a field of energy. (The girl was not injured but returned to an alternate universe). 

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.

  • Some children in this age group are likely to be disturbed by the above-mentioned scenes.

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.

  • No additional scenes or images.

Product placement

  • No product placement of concern.

Sexual references

The film contains some very mild/low level sexual references. Examples include:

  • A reference is made to “long lost lovers”.
  • In reference to two teen boys bonding the comment is made “Let’s give them some man time”.
  • A man tries to give teen boys some advice about girls. The man says “Sometimes with women...” but is interrupted by a teen boy who says he doesn’t need that talk as he has the Internet.
  • In reference to a teen boy, a teen girl says “This bad-boy is the cutest type of crazy”.
  • In relation to a teen boy, a teen girl says to a second teen girl “should you blow him a kiss?”

Nudity and sexual activity

The film contains no nudity it but does contain infrequent very low-level sexual activity. Examples include:

  • A teen girl and teen boy attempt to kiss but are stopped before they can do so. In a later scene they kiss each other on the lips. 

Use of substances

The film contains no depiction of substance use. 

Coarse language

The film contains some occasional name calling and putdowns. Examples include:

  • Ego maniac, sucks, hopeless, feral, little feral blond, you idiot, little creeps, fool, stupid, freak, weirdoes, what the hell, and freak out. 

In a nutshell

Nowhere Boys: The Book of Shadows is a sci-fi, fantasy, action adventure film targeted at tweens, teens and fans of the ABC TV series Nowhere Boys. While the cast may appeal to fans of the series, the lead characters are only mildly convincing as magic wielding superheroes capable of saving the universe. In terms of action and violence Nowhere Boys is on a par with the TV series Power Rangers while special effects are basic. While Nowhere Boy: The Book of Shadows is more suited to the TV screen than the big screen it will still appeal to and entertain younger teens, but will fall well short of the mark for older teens.      

The main messages from this movie include:

  • When you get knocked down you must get straight up and try again.
  • You don’t need to have magical powers to be special.
  • Working together allows you to achieve goals that you couldn’t achieve by working alone.

 

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

  • Self sacrifice: In order to save the universe the film’s four lead characters are required to give up their ability to use magic forever.
  • Teamwork: In order to defeat their enemies, the film’s four very different lead characters had to work together and combine their powers.

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as.

  • The film’s lead villain was willing to destroy the universe out of spite for wrongs done to her in the past. How else could the film’s villain have reacted to the wrongs done to her so that she could achieve justice rather than vengeance?
  • Parents may wish to discuss how spitefulness is a selfish, negative and destructive behaviour. 

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