Tom Shankland's The Children was released in 2008 by Ghost House productions. Any of you out there who haven't seen it yet would probably have quite a good time with it. That is, unless you have children. Personally, I would not want to be alone in a house with small kids after a viewing of this film.
Movies about evil kids are not exactly anything new, but this one is a cut above most of them. For one thing, the actors portraying the murderous tots in this one are just plain creepier than any evil child nce the character of Gauge in Stephen King's
Pet Sematary. Kudos for that go out to Mr. Shankland for his surefooted direction, the child actors themselves, and the casting directors who chose them for their respective parts. These kids don't go from innocent, cherubic youngsters to bloodthirsty maniacs in no time flat. It's all a slow boil here and the viewer watches helplessly, with mounting tenon, as the kids are initially thought to just be cranky because they have a touch of a cold. The adults in the film are all preoccupied with their own family drama as they gather for a reunion, each adult with their respective brood of snot nosed kids in tow. A lot of the family melodrama seems to originate from the character of Casey (played to the hilt by the lovely and talented Hannah Tointon) a teenager who is not joining the festivities voluntarily and seems to keep attracting trouble from her older relatives despite her best efforts to have little to do with any of them. As Casey's rebellious antics are distracting everyone, no one seems to notice as the toddlers in the family move beyond mple crankiness and begin exchanging meaningful glances as they cook up a plot to claim their first victim in a truly memorable and shocking way. Without giving too much away, let me just say that going sledding with these particular kids is not a healthy decion.The movie doesn't ever explain the exact nature of the illness that is transforming the children into killers, but it's beyond any mple zombie virus. Their ckness doesn't just turn these little bastards into creatures that hunger for human flesh, it makes them cunning and cruel in the process. In short order, they manage to dispatch or wound a good number of people while pointing the finger of blame at Casey, who makes a perfect scapegoat with her cynical personality, purple-streaked hair and somewhat risque fashion choices. For her part, Casey does figure out that the children are the ones to blame, but when she tries to fight back, she plays right into their hands and makes herself look like a lunatic by roughing up her tiny, sobbing blings and couns right in front of the adults in the family.I honestly can't think of any real problems with this film. The script starts out restrained as we see the first gns that something is horribly wrong with these kids and then picks up the pace exponentially with each new shocking act of
calculated violence. The performances are solid, the run time is about perfect for the story, the ending is haunting and the whole thing is put together with impresve skill and confidence. I don't give perfect ratings very often, but I see no good reason not to give the Children
5 out of 5 stars.I also see no good reason to go near anyone younger than age 20 for the foreseeable future.