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The Children (2008)

  Tags: Eva Birthistle, Eva Sayer, evil child, evil kid, Hannah Tointon, Jake Hathaway, Jeremy Sheffield, kids, Rachel Shelley, Raffiella Brooks, Stephen Campbell Moore, the children, Tom Shankland, uk, William Howes

Your rating: None Average: 6.6 (13 votes)
Reviewer Rating: 
7

thechildren.jpg
Rating #: 
7/10
Director: 
Tom Shankland
Runtime: 
84 minutes
Cast: 
Eva Birthistle, Rachel Shelley, Stephen Campbell Moore, Jeremy Sheffield, Hannah Tointon, Eva Sayer, Jake Hathaway, William Howes, Raffiella Brooks


The Children is the newest addition to the recent splurge of evil-kid films, however despite the fairly tired theme, director Tom Shankland managed to bring a nice atmospheric dark thriller that's usually hit-or-miss with these types of flicks.

Based on a story by Paul Andrew Williams (The Cottage), the movie follows a family visiting some relatives at a secluded cabin home during the winter season. While the parents are busy gossiping and catching up with each other, there's clearly something wrong with the children, especially one of the distant young boys. Whatever that's causing the young boy to act so strange is passed along to the rest of the kids, and slowly forces their minds to see a series of bloody images, eventually causing them to lash out at their parents in violent ways.

I wasn't quite sure what to expect from this movie. It looked decent from the trailer, but it didn't really show a whole lot (which is a good thing), so I went in with an open mind. Luckily, the film turned out to be good and I was surprised at the approach that the director took for the earlier parts of the movie. There's this great foreboding atmosphere throughout the first half of the flick, where you know something is wrong with these kids and you're just waiting for the moment when they snap and start offing the parents.

An interesting direction taken with the film is the way the children acted -- instead of clearly making them straight-up evil and slicing-and-dicing people, they opted to make them seem clearly innocent and mentally distant with the actions they're doing. This causes the parents to question whether they should take action against these kids or not, because they clearly don't realize what they're doing... or do they? I really liked that aspect of the movie, and wished more similar-themed films would've taken that approach.

It's never fully explained as to why the children became violent, although there are lots of little hints early on. It's clear that it's some sort of bacterial infection passed among the kids that causes them to become violent. What may seem like a simple cough could lead to the spread of the virus. There's not a whole lot of gore, but there's a decent amount of blood. Gore definitely wouldn't have fit in well with overall mood of the movie anyway, so for once, I'm glad there wasn't much gore. The film could've ended a little better, but it still left me satisfied by the time the credits rolled.

A surprisingly good evil-kids flick. The film opts to go for a more dark and atmospheric approach rather than kids just slicing-and-dicing the adults, which I found very refreshing. Worth a check, especially if you're a fan of movies with this theme.

Posted on July 20, 2009 - 5:19am | FrighT MasteR

 

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