Tuesday, October 09, 2012


Killer kid movies always sound more interesting than they usually end up being. Other than The Omen, I was having a hard time thinking of one I particularly liked before watching this one. There are a few other ones that are kind of fun (Bloody Birthday, The Good Son for example), but none that I would call great or even good. I think the problem is that in the end you are left with a bunch of adults getting outwitted by children, and while that sounds like a lot of fun, it usually just ends up being me staring at the screen dumbfounded wondering why these adults are so stupid.

The British thriller, The Children, tries really hard to make the killer kid scenario a little more legit. I'll give it an 'A' for effort. Two sisters, along with their husbands and children, are vacationing at a remote country home for the Christmas/New Year Holidays. The children, at first, start demonstrating some pretty odd behavior and a few too many accidents start occurring that the kids appear to be responsible for including the disappearance of a family pet. The violence continues to escalate and the parents and the oldest of the children (she appears to be somewhere in the 16-21 age range), unwilling at first to believe their children are trying to kill them, finally (somewhat) come to their senses and take a stand (at least those that are left).

The remote location and the fact that these are obviously parents that don't pay a whole lot of attention to their kids anyways allows you to suspend some disbelief while watching. And while I appreciate the 180 spin the film takes on the parental figures - usually it's the mom that can't believe her baby would be a killer, but in this case it's one of the Dads - this is still the dumbest father I've seen in a movie in quite a while. I would at least listen to my daughter if she came to me and said her younger sister was trying to kill her; this guy just smacks her across the face and runs off with the youngest girl and you can guess how that ends up.

I also enjoyed that you really never find out exactly why the kids have turned violent. There are some instances where you are led to believe it's some sort of disease (sneezing, headaches, coughs, etc.), but no concrete reason is ever given. One of the final shots of the film is also pretty eerie making you realize that this (Epidemic?) is quite a bit bigger than we realize. I say one of the final shots because the actual final shot is predictable and dumb, and I will leave it at that.

And while the film is not extremely gory they don't hold back on the kids' deaths. There is an especially icky sequence involving part of a door and a throat. Once the mom and oldest daughter figure out what's going on, their survival instinct responses are about as much humor as you will get from the proceedings.

In the end, it's an uneven film. Tom Shankland directs the film fairly straightforward which is perfectly serviceable but it makes the whole thing kind of blah as well. The film takes itself way too seriously. However, the remote location and the small group of people do make the whole affair pretty creepy. This is the kind of place where I truly believe cell phones probably would be iffy at best.

I probably won't be making this film an annual Halloween tradition or anything, but if you're in the mood for a killer kid flick and you've seen The Omen way too many times, you could do a lot worse. You could do a hell of a lot worse. Sadly, I suffered through that one last night and will be reviewing shortly. I hope to be caught up by the weekend, but rest assured I am watching one of these every night because I'm sure you were worried about it.


At 10/14/2012 07:05:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hate kids being the antagonists in movies like this. There are specific plausible things they could do to terrify or even kill adults (electrocution, tripping at the top of stairs, looking fucking creepy, etc.), but when an adult is essentially running away from them when they see a homicidal child it looks stupid. I also hate kids. So there.

At 10/14/2012 07:09:00 PM, Blogger Jonathan said...

Agreed. I get as a parent I would be a little protective of my daughter but if I saw her purposefully hurting someone I would at the very least get her isolated so I could figure out what the hell was going on.


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