Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Children (Review)

The Children

The Children (2009)

Directed by Tom Shankland

[this is a review I wrote for's Movie Blog, hence the shortness and the letter grade]

The Children represents a subgenre of horror that will never be fully accepted in the United States of America. Oh yeah, we’ve had our share of “killer kids” films, namely Children of the Corn, The Omen and The Good Son but it’s probably never going to be mainstreamy anytime soon.

Well thank the UK for keeping this creepy ubergenre alive. Tom Shankland’s The Children brings the chills and the wickedness of kids not being kidlike as they go murderous against the adults. It’s succulently evil and scary it made me a very happy horror fan.

The movie’s set up is rather simple. At a New Years gathering, two families come together for a celebration. They consist of two older sisters and their husbands, an eldest hottie Rachel Bilson looking daughter and all their kids (4 total younglings).

The adults, in a twist are almost irrelevant as they are the victim fodder. It’s the children that work so effectively as the little Dennis the Menaces. They soon develop a H1N1 like virus that starts turning them irritable then very serial killery. Each little tyke brings performances that match any Damian persona and even though they are overtly cute, they show their dark side instantly.

Soon, the adults are on the run like teenagers at a summer camp. Many of the scenes are simple, yet effective. Violence between the kids and the adults erupt at a greenhouse, then within the snow covered woods and then inside a house.

Shankland builds up the suspense with some playful foreshadowing and just a hint of quick edits for those gratuitous jump scares. Also, there is some decent amount of gore with head and ocular trauma, broken vertebrae and neck wounds. The movie doesn’t tread lightly on the adult-icide or kid-acide which makes it more chilling when the death scenes occur.

The overall moral theme that gets grappled is one that encompasses all these killer kid films. Would you be able to kill a kid or *gasp* your own child to save your own or another child’s life?

Many of the characters struggle with this and the paternal and maternal instinct are so ingrained, their logic becomes illogical and more emotion. Many might not be able to view such a film where kids wink with such evilness, especially parents.

But for those who are brave enough to watch The Children, you will never see a playground the same way again.

Grade: A

You'll like it if....
  • You love creepy kids being creepy movies
  • You dig an anti Disney, suspenseful, scary and thrilling kid killer horror movie
  • You like movies like The Omen, Children of the Corn and Them aka Ils

You won't like it if....
  • You’re a parent who morally objects to killer children movies
  • You can’t stand the sight of gratuitous gore and head trauma
  • You think children killing adults is just ridiculous and cheesy

The Trailer


  1. Agreed, this one was handled very well, and marks one of the better killer kid flicks. I still prefer WHO CAN KILL A CHILD, but this is certainly better than any of the CotC flicks

  2. Nice short review, man. I've heard nothing but great things about THE CHILDREN. I'm getting it on Netflix tomorrow. Can't wait to see these little bastards do their evil thang.

  3. I thought the film was going to suck because it starts so slowly. The third act of The Children saves the film. When the mother tells the husband what she did in the green house was great. The father's reaction toward his wife after that and his daughter was also very good, believable. The best is when the little boy and girl come back to the house when the older sister is locked in the room and the car wreck scene at the end.

  4. FB - I also love there is no explanation to what is causing the virus thats made the kids all nutzoid. Other movies would explain its extraterrestrial or demons...but they focused more on the "what if" scenario and the relationships b/w the kids and the adults.

    Good stuff.

  5. And the Red Herring at the end with the hot girl vomiting like the children at the beginning of the film. At first I thought she was puking because of the condition of her father. Maybe whatever it was took longer to effect her because she was not quite in adolescence anymore.

    Crap, now I might have to review this film.