The UK advertising watchdog has ruled that an advert for horror film Paradise Lost should not have been shown before the 21:00 watershed.

A statement from the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said the advert, shown earlier this year at 20:00 BST, could "cause distress to children".

However, despite upholding a viewer complaint, no further action will be taken against producer Lions Gate UK or agency The Creative Partnership.

In the ten-second advert, surgical and operation theatre instruments are shown while a young female character says "No… I want to go home" in a distressed voice, while an accompanying voiceover says "It's shocking… and genuinely terrifying".

The viewer that complained over the broadcasting of the advert before the watershed said it could easily have been "frightening and sickening" for any children watching.

In its defence The Creative Partnership said it "felt strongly" that no sections of the advertising code had been breached, although it recognised that the advert had a "frightening tone".

The Firm said that in contrast to a longer version shown post-21:00, no images of blood or violence were shown.

But the ASA concluded that this response was "not adequate".

"Although the ad was ten seconds long only, it showed blood flowing through a tube and an incision being made on the stomach of a woman on an operating table," a statement explained.

"It showed a man wearing robes and surgical gloves holding a large syringe and dropping a bloodied rag.

"The woman said in a distressed tone 'I want to go home'; the inference was that she was being held against her will. We considered this was no less gory or violent than the 30-second ads. We concluded that if scheduled before 21:00 those images could cause distress to children."

In Paradise Lost, certificate 18, a group of backpackers are pursued across an idyllic Brazilian locale by an insane Doctor Who wants to harvest their organs.

05/09/2007 00:01:00