March 6, 2011

The Children (2008)

"A relaxing Christmas vacation turns into a terrifying fight for survival as the children begin to turn on their parents."

There are many good reasons why I never want to have children apart from the obvious physical impossibilities of trying to squeeze a baby out of any of my male orifices but this film is yet another one. It's not that "The Children" was in any way scary but the annoying screeching of all the kids involved just made me want to switch it off. That was before any of them turned evil too.

I'd really been looking forward to seeing some British horror again and, as you can imagine, I was hoping that this would be the best thing that I'd ever seen so that I could rave about it for months to come and irritate everybody. Unfortunately, "The Children" was a very, very poor "evil kids" film. The children weren't all that sinister and pretty much sucked at acting even given that they are all obviously too young to know any better anyway.

I'm not sure whether it was just the acting or if it was how I just couldn't identify with any of the seemingly middle class parents which made me not care about any of them. It's a given that I wouldn't care about the children anyway but you'd think that I maybe would have felt something for the sexy Casey played by Hannah Tointon (Simon's girlfriend in "The Inbetweeners" and real-life younger sister of Kara who plays Dawn in "Eastenders"). I just wanted everyone in the film to die as quickly and as brutally as possible. Adults and children, I didn't care which went first.

After a really slow and irritating start which told me more about the annoying personalities of the two families involved than I even wanted to know, there were a couple of brutal "accidents" caused by the children with most of the gore occurring off screen. I can forgive the filmmakers a bit because of the obvious lack of budget but if you are going to have someone sledge down a hill straight into a pitchfork then I want to see it happen and not just see the aftermath no matter how good the practical latex and corn syrup effects are.

Everything else consisted of various kinds of slicings and stabbings. I can't really fault the technical aspects involved as the production values were pretty good but things moved far too quickly for there to be any tension or atmosphere whatsoever. Back to the acting, all the adults looked anxious or constipated while the children just stared without blinking and seemed to be laughably gormless in the process.

With every minute, things just got more frantic and incredible until the denouement ruined it all completely. Basically, you can easily predict who will survive and why. Then, after the fact, wonder why you even bothered to watch this film in the first place. There were no lessons to be learned here and it was certainly no moral fable.

SPOILER (Highlight to read)

The fact that the children were simply the first to succumb to some kind of virus that turned them into evil killers pretty much spoiled everything that had gone on before. I was expecting another "Village of the Damned" and instead all I got was an even more inferior version of "The Crazies".


Very rarely do I ever watch the so-called "Special Features" on DVDs but, due to not being in any way entertained by "The Children" itself, I watched the "Making of" documentary. Apart from being very shoddily put together, there were a few interesting insights into how the various stunts and effects were achieved but there wasn't anything particularly useful or memorable there either. It's sad that I actually still enjoyed "The Making of The Children" more than the main feature.

Anyway, that's another one that I don't recommend to anyone unless they have already started a collection of coasters made from these dreadful "Ghost House" releases.

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