Friday, December 16, 2011

"Who could kill a child?"...on Ice!: The Children (2008)

The Children (United Kingdom, 2008)
rating: ****
starring: Eva Birthistle, Stephen Campbell Moore and Jeremy Sheffield

I think I made it clear that me and kids never get along. It's the part that they could get away with almost anything that frightens me, and the fact that the law does nothing against juveniles other than hardening them even more. Low and middle class families are getting lazier and losing control over their offsprings, resulting to either the kids getting injured, or injuring.
oh, the horrid days of childhood
(also, wow, look at that detail!)
One example that grinds my gears was a few nights ago, some neighborhood kid's trashing a randomly placed motorbike in front of my house, and I scolded the brat for doing that. A few minutes later, that mum's kid went back and started scolding ME for scolding her kid! What the chuck, lady? You should be thanking me for saving your kid's ass from a bigger beat-up since as it turns out that bike belonged to a drunken husky fellow, with arms big enough to tie a python to a knot! (like all motorbikes do!)

Augh, whatever, woman, time to do some reviews.
Before the hack-fest...

A would have been a holiday weekend that brings two families together for some quality time in a picturesque snowbound countryside cottage. However, one of the children starts to act strangely; that night, the boy appeared to have caught something that soon escalates to somethings worse. Bloody worse.

When the child's violent behavior starts to "spread" along the rest of the younger members, panic starts as an "accident" resulted to one adult severely injured. It soon became clear that the children had gone homicidal from an unknown cause, and the adults must now decide their own survival: whether to kill or be killed.
tender moment? Or brooding evil?
Killer kiddies are not entirely new to the genre, not with all those "Children of the Corn" films Dimension keep crapping out, and not to mention smaller titles like Bloody Birthday and Mikey. But none of them got the raw power and chilling atmosphere provided by The Children; it starts brooding the mood the moment the families got settled in and it was only a matter of time (and a test of patience of the viewers) before the good stuff starts.

I had to admit, it's a lot shocking than what I had in mind; while the most killer kid titles barely had the dangerous tykes draw blood from their own, The Children sports violence not only to adults but also on the children. Note these aren't short 13 year olds or teenagers, but we had kids around ages 10 or lower killing off their mumsies and dadas as if it was playtime, or being killed off in a rather brutal fashion. It's disturbing alright, and I like it.
That's it, baby, strike that pose!
It avoids the usual horror tropes that puts these characters into doing dumb and unrealistic things or just degrading them into simpletons who would likely walk into a burning house just to fetch some leftover toast. If there are such tropes in this film, it's more likely to be possible considering the psychological trauma these anxious adults are put into; no matter how desensitized you are, the moment you had kids and watch them grow, it's hard to pull away from them even if they started killing people.
Un chien andalou much?
The only big mystery here is the nature of the children's "infection". It's hinted someplace in the film that a virus was spreading, and one scene had us looking at a growing bacteria hinting us an answer. Well, the ending did gave us a few stones turned, but it also left us with another ambiguous and a more chilling question. Something about it spreading to someone...older?

Ironically taking place in Christmas, the holiday where little brats usually have their way this wildly entertaining chiller and perversion of a happy holiday gathering is everything of a horror must-see is. It's clever,well-acted, beautifully shot, a freshly original take on a familiar story, and, above all, it's scary. Really scary.

1 male accidentally sleighs head first unto garden harrow, later found gutted with a doll
1 boy pulled into glass shard, impaled
1 cat seen dead in girl's lap
1 female gets a color pencil to the eye
1 boy forced face first into sharpened plank
1 male found dead under the snow
1 girl hit by a car
total: 7


  1. wonderful, absolutely wonderful movie. Probably my favorite killer kid flick of all time.

  2. really? Cool! This one came as a surprise for me, never knew it was that good!

  3. I concur. I'd heard good things about this film and was not disappointed. On side note, my wife of 13 years and I shared our first kiss while watching a god-awful 80s horror flick also entitled The Children. Ah, sweet romance!

  4. The one with the zombie kids? How sweet~haha XD