The Children (2008) Review

Spoiler-free so you can read before you watch

The Children (2008) Review

Horrorific content by Yo Adrian on December 19th, 2020 | Movie Review | Christmas

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It's about a bunch of kids who go crazy on a bunch of adults at Christmas.

The Children was directed by Tom Shankland and stars Eva Birthistle (from Wake Wood, The Daisy Chain and Reverb), Hannah Tointon (from Young, High and Dead) and Jeremy Sheffield (from Creep).

The Children Review

The Children is a British Christmas horror movie with a simple premise. Well, I suppose all Christmas horror movies have simple premises. Normally it's just a psycho in a Santa suit or a radioactive mutant snowman or something. This movie is about a bacteria that infects kids, making them attack their parents. Think Mom and Dad but at Christmas. Kids killing when they should be happy and joyful and all that? I'm into it.

The movie sets up as you would expect, with family all showing up for Christmas. Kids are happy, parents are happy, there's yuletide cheer abound. This lasts for about 10 minutes until everything changes and all the adults, including a teenage girl, all show their true colors. They all become unlikable, and fast. The women are backstabbing bitches and the men are immoral money-hungry limp dicks. It's made very clear that we're not supposed to like any of them. They're the kind of characters you want to get killed off. Kind of basic, but a common trope in horror.

So as we're waiting for the kids to kill off all of these unlikable characters, nothing actually happens. Nothing happens for a very long time in this movie. The first half of the movie is just one fake suspense scene after another. Even after the kids get infected, all they do is scream incessantly and throw fits. They glare at the adults a lot, but that's only creepy the first couple dozen times. 

Once the horror actually kicks in, it's just more basic horror tropes. I won't get into spoilers, but I'm thinking this movie was made for casual horror fans, or maybe something that was meant to run on TV. It's painfully basic. 

I did like how many of the shots were bright and sunny and how the blood splattered all over the white snow looked cool. But you can find that in a lot of Christmas horrors that aren't the same several basic scenes looped for 90 minutes. 

I was really looking forward to The Children. I've seen a lot of recommendations for this in the horror community for years. I went into it thinking it was going to be brutal and shocking. What I got was boring and frustrating.

Worth Watching?

If you're new to horror or like movies based on premise alone, sure. But if you're looking for more than just screaming kids and bumbling adults with zero parenting or survival skills, do yourself a favor and skip The Children. 

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