Credit: Sony Pictures; A24

A day off from school nearly became a traumatizing event in Australia on Wednesday due to a projectionist mix-up at the movie theater.

A group of kids and parents got more than they bargained for at the movies on Anzac Day, a school holiday in Australia and ostensibly a great day to take in a family-friendly flick. Unfortunately for attendees of a showing of Peter Rabbit, things reportedly went off the rails when the first trailer before the film was for R-rated horror movie Hereditary. (Hereditary has been hailed out of Sundance as one of the scariest films in recent memory.)

According to The Sydney Morning Herald, the theater was full of families and “at least 40 children,” per one attendee, identified as “Jane.” When the horror began to unfold — the trailer includes scenes of a child (Milly Shapiro) snipping a pigeon’s neck with scissors, a young man (Alex Wolff) banging his own face bloodily into a desk, insects crawling over a body prone in bed, and a man on fire, amongst other creepy moments — “Parents were yelling at the projectionist to stop, covering their kids’ eyes and ears,” some even fleeing the theater all together, Jane added.

Management at the theater shut the screen down, according to the Herald, eventually setting things to rights and going forward with the Peter Rabbit showing. To apologize, the theater offered complimentary tickets for a future showing but Jane realized the tickets expired that day.

“Don’t get me wrong, I understand mistakes happen. But surely there should be checks to make sure trailers like that don’t get shown. And the free passes thing just added insult to injury,” she said.

A spokesman for Event Cinema promised that the vouchers would be honored through April 25, 2019. A24, the studio behind Hereditary, also addressed the mix-up on its Twitter page, joking that they’d “consider subsidizing their child therapy.”

Hereditary opens in theaters June 8.

Peter Rabbit
  • Movie
  • 100 minutes