This is one creepy horror movie that succeeds where many others in this sub-genre fail. All the “killer kids” movies I’ve seen always fall a part in either the story or the acting department. I find the plot’s in this sub-genre usually try too hard to explain WHY the kids are homicidal or it doesn’t address it all. The other problem I’ve found is that either the child actor is usually as menacing as your run-of-the-mill Disney flick or the kids’ a lousy actor. THE CHILDREN doesn’t fall into either of these problems and is an exciting, edge-of-your-seat flick that’ll grab you from the first frame.
Two couples get together in the English country side to celebrate the holidays. In the opening scenes we see that one of the young kids is sick: He’s throwing up, his eyes are glassy, and he’s slowly developing some serious behavioral issues. One by one the other young kids all catch this strange virus (which is never explained or elaborated upon). The tension keeps building until the expected violence occurs with the adults being picked off in increasingly violent ways. Director Tom Shankland (who directed the phenomenal THE KILLING GENE) builds the tension through tight direction, believable characters developed realistically, and great f/x. He understands that without “knowing” and caring for the characters, the violence is meaningless. What’s really great is the sub-text that’s also found in 1976’s WHO CAN KILL A CHILD? These young kids, even though they have murderous intentions, are still innocent kids. They’re sick with a virus and essentially not responsible for their actions. YET, the adults have to defend themselves or they’ll all end up slaughtered (wait until you see what one mom must do in order to save herself and her older daughter. Chilling). The young kids all do great jobs in their rolls; they manage to evoke sympathy while at the same time you’re rooting for the adults to fucking waste them. Shankland hit a home run here. The final scenes with other kids from the town gathered around in the woods is really creepy and eerie. A shiver ran down my spine just thinking about it. Definitely check this one out.
Director: Tom Shankland (and writer)
Plot: 4 out of 5 stars
Gore: 5 out of 10 skulls
Zombie Mayhem: 0 out of 5 brains
Reviewed by Scott Shoyer