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I’m a little sick of the hype machine to be honest with you guys. Laid to Rest is getting all sorts of accolades, but I really didn’t think much of it. Let the Right One In isn’t bad, but it’s horribly overrated. Still, sometimes the hype is warranted – Martyrs kicks all kinds of @$$. TimeCrimes is freakin fried coolocity. But The Children?
The Children is the AWESOME.
Anyone who knows me personally knows that the kids in my neighborhood bug me. Between jumping on their trampoline all day, playing in my front and fenced in backyard, leaving their Capi-Sun wrappers in my yard…I’d really believe that one day they might turn evil and kill all the adults in the neighborhood. Maybe that’s why a film like The Children scares me so much. Because, one day, when you least expect it, a kid just mght walk up and stab you in the eye with a blue crayon.
A husband, wife, and their children visit the wife’s sister and her family. Combined the couple has five children, four younger kids and one teenage girl, Casey. Things start off quietly enough, with the parents having a couple of drinks, the kids running around screaming, the teenage girl flirting with her uncle and pissed off for being dragged away from a party. But the kids start acting a little…off. In one of the strongest scenes in the film, we watch as three of them sit inside of a tent in the backyard, rocking back and forth and muttering to themselves like vets traumatized by a war as they stare into the reflections on their toy ray guns.
Then…the sh*t hits the fan. Someone dies a pretty damn brutal death which, at first seemed kinda hokey, but the aftermath is scary bloody. And it’s as if someone opened the floodgates and, from this point until the end of the film the film moves like gangbusters – people are killed, tortured, maimed, dissected with baby dolls stuffed into their open carcasses…once it stops, it doesn’t let go.
As much as I complain about horror films set during the daylight hours, The Children has a single night scene, yet is one of the most intense horror flicks I’ve seen in quite a while. The snow-filled daylight hours are suspenseful, bloody, and beautifully filmed. Shankman has an amazing cinematic eye and there is one amazing overhead shot that rivals some of the best I’ve seen in any big budget Hollywood flick.
It’s not perfect, of course. Some of the acting does border on the melodramatic, and the ending is a bit cliched. Still, the beginning is a bit of a slow burn but, once you get past that, you’re in for quite a ride.
Paul’s Awesomeness Score – 8 out of 10!