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Saturday, November 14, 2009

Review: The Children


The Children (2008)
Genre: Horror
Format: Blu-ray
Director: Tom Shankland

I thought that I had found the ultimate in modern killer-children movie in the recently reviewed Orphan... but then I watched The Children: a powerful, extremely horrific film from our friends in the United Kingdom. A film that no U.S. distributors had the guts to support with a theatrical release that it surely deserved. We are only getting the home release of the movie after a year of waiting and now, it is clear why this movie was never shown in our favorite local theaters even though the utter shock from its viewings would only result in a good form of notoriety for the film.

The Children is a monster movie of sort, with the monsters being well, the children themselves! A couple and their three kids are spending the holidays at a relative's house, located at a rather secluded countryside. Things are normal enough at first, even though it is apparent that there are some odd things going on relationship-wise between the two families. The increasing discomfort that is brewing becomes the least of their worries though when their own children start to turn on them with murderous passion. The movie is a bit slow at the beginning but once the mayhem begins, the thrill ride never stops until the end credits roll.

Though writer/director Tom Shankland loves his jump scares - there are many unfair shocks to be had - it is easy to forgive him for those missteps because of the unapologetic, relentless intensity of the proceedings. The film's build-up is incredible and the children's ability to completely manipulate the situation to their advantage is as realistic as it is shocking. Perhaps the most ingenious part of the movie is that it only offers a brief glimpse into what could possibility made the children act they way they do, so the focus of the audience's attention is just the really messy carnage that strikes both the victims and as well their perpetrators. The violent acts displayed here will hit you fast and they will hit you hard. The movie is bloody in many unexpected ways and they are guaranteed to have you groaning in disgust.

Let's just make one thing clear: conservative parents would probably hate this movie because of the sheer amount of family brutality found within. If this movie was shown in theaters here, it would probably resulted in a week-long banter at Fox News Channel. If you are ready for something truly unexpected but also endlessly disturbing, watch this movie. The Children is mean-spirited, terribly bleak, and downright nasty - Translation: the perfect example of how horror movies should be made.

RATING: 5 out of 5

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