The Children (2008)
Directed by Tom Shankland

Starring Eva Birthistle Hannah Tointon Jeremy Sheffield Rachel Shelley Stephen Campbell Moore

Available on DVD in the UK before it hits the U.S., "The Children" is Tom Shankland's follow up to his less-than-well-received horror film "The Killing Gene." Robbing wholesale from the Spanish horror film "Island of the Damned," it's about a group of Brits who head to a wintery home for a vacation with a group of kids. Naturally, something sinister gets into the snow that proceeds to turn the children into bloodythirsty killers of adults. Don't you just hate it when that happens?

There's something about stone-faced killer kids that's pretty eerie. It's a well worn theme, done before in "Village of the Damned", "Island of the Damned," and of course "Children of the Corn". In fact, the film is so close to "Island of the Damned" in concept it could pretty much be considered a sequel to that great movie.

As killer kid horror movies go, "The Children" is easily one of the best.

The film starts off slowly with dull dramas engulfing the adults as they settle into their vacation house and the children begin acting out, first hitting one of the adults with a runaway sled, then upping the ante with more and more gruesome freak "accidents."

Shankland does a great job of slowly racheting up the tension, letting us (the adueince that would be) understand that something very sinister is happening among the kids, while the adults remain clueless until the first body falls. The daytime, snowy setting also delivers plenty of atmosphere.

As the adult injury count among the adults mounts and the kids graduate from passive aggressiveness to full-on attacks with sharp objects, it's left to a disgruntled teenage girl (Hannah Tointon) (who refers to herself as "the abortion who got away") to convince the parents that it's in everyone's best interst to fight off the dimunitive attackers.

Things naturally get worse and worse. Shankland is able to use a small cast and a single setting to deliver maximum thrills. Horror from the UK has been great lately, what with releases like "Eden Lake" and "The Descent." "The Children" racks up there as one of the very best horror titles to emerge from the old country in a decade where U.S. filmmakers seem unable -- or unwilling -- to produce quality content for the genre.

A must-see horror movie. As of March of 2009, the film had reached DVD in the UK with no U.S. release plans announced. This one deserves a theatrical release in the States for sure.

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-- Review by Lucius Gore


Posted by Michael R. Allen on April 5, 2009
I think that anything I can kick like a soccer ball and send it 10' i.e. Critters, Chuckie, Gremlins, and kids under 3' 6", then the antagonists, with the film, are not scary. I saw this one and 90% of it was bah!

Posted by rosie on August 21, 2009
looks nice and messed up cant wait to see the whole movie

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