Tuesday, March 13, 2018

The Lost Gatlin Baby: Children Of The Corn: Runaway (2018)

Children of The Corn: Runaway (2018)
Rating: **1/2
Starring: Clu Gulager, Marci Miller, Mary Kathryn Bryant

I'm gonna be brutally honest; after the train wreck that is Genesis, I'm pretty sure the Children of the Corn franchise killed itself for good. And yet, here we are with a new sequel. Hurray?

In all fairness, the premise of Runaway is a lot more interesting than Genesis's feature length sit-and-talk-a-thon. With her friends and family killed under the orders of the malevolent force simply known as He Who Walks Behind The Rows, then-pregnant Ruth grew to hate the murderous child cult she became a part of and burned down the very cornfields their god resides one night before finally escaping the madness.

They're coming to get you, Ruthie~!
After spending 13 years on the road in hopes of leaving her past behind, Ruth and her now teenage son Aaron stop at a small Oklahoma town where it appears they may have a chance of living a normal life. However, with Ruth's trauma eating her up inside and fearing whatever she left back at the burnt cornfields years ago is still after her, a normal life is far from happening and someone -or something- may have finally caught up with her.

Much like Genesis, Runaway has its focus on building psychological scares instead of a kill count, so it's less of a straight cult-themed supernatural slasher and more of a character drama thriller with strong horror undertones. Thankfully, this direction surprisingly works quite well despite the slow-burn pacing and noticeable plot holes, with its rather intriguing portrayal of our titular runaway by actress Marci Miller (who also appeared in the 2015 slasher Most Likely To Die) as an individual attempting normalcy for both herself and her sons' sake but seemingly held back from doing so due to her own possible paranoia and shattered psyche. Her struggles are believably real even if the very cause is too fantastic, making Ruth humanly observable, if not relatable and empathetic at the same time.

One killer kid? Well, so long as she sheds blood right, it's all good.
Any slasher elements left in are reduced to two or three straight murder scenes involving a single killer child, while the rest of the bodycount are either Ruth's hallucinations or visions of things to come. (No straight answers were given) Any trace of the supernatural are also nearly absent, further grounding the story to realism and leading it all to a rather bleak ending that I honestly saw coming but shockingly depressing nonetheless.

Seeing this is directed by John Gulager, who is known for directing shlocky monster movies like Feast (2005) and it's sequels, as well as the dreaded Piranha 3DD (2012), I am quite surprised on how tame and story-centered this is. (I'm saying this in a good way) Given that this approach may not be for everybody, particularly those looking for a killer kid slasher flick (or something littered with blood, boobs and body parts given Gulager's filmography), I will say that Children of the Corn: Runaway is better suited for those with a penchant for the psychological. Perhaps an additional murder or two may have also earned this movie a higher rating from me but for what it is, I say it's a welcome addition to the franchise and an improvement from last Children of the Corn movie.

1 female had her throat slashed with a sickle (flashback)
1 male stabbed with a knife (hallucination)
1 male had his eyes gouged (hallucination)
1 male knifed on the back (hallucination)
1 male had his throat cut with a billhook (hallucination)
1 male brained with a croquet mallet, garroted with a metal noose
1 male repeatedly beaten with a wrench, impaled with a metal pipe
1 female found slaughtered
1 male found brained to death with a wrench
1 elderly female found dead with head wound
A number of children implied burned to death (flashback)
1 female gets a knife through the jaw, knifed to death
Total: 11+

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