One of My Greatest Fears Realized…

Over at pretty-scary.net they have this gigantic list of reviews–both by site owner heidi martinuzzi and other weirdos friends of hers.  on a given day at work, i lean toward laziness, so i often find myself clicking the lovely links through all of pretty-scary’s reviews.  (i have finished all of final girl’s reviews, dudes.)  it is because of this work laziness that i am able to bring you closer and closer still to movie mega-excellence.

as a result of my mounting work-laziness, i am able to peruse these film choices and share with you times in which pretty-scary is indeed spot on with its criticism.

today, my dear friends, is one of those days.

For some years now, I have expounded on the notion that children are, in fact, quite evil.  even under the best of circumstances, they suck up your entire life, prevent you from seeing the best movies, shit on your leg (my sister did this to my father), vomit in your mouth (the same sister did this to my mother), scream when you have the world’s worst Sentinel-like headache, and generally eat up your savings (quite literally in some cases).

Also, they do this….

“They always have jam on their hands. Even when there isn’t any jam in the house, they get jam on their hands. I can’t deal with jam hands.” — Luke Danes (Gilmore Girls)

And let’s face it, who can deal with jam hands?

But it is for these reasons (and myriad others) that i have referred to my uterus as a vestigial organ.  that’s right folks.  i want NO children.  they scare me.  they make me uncomfortable.  i have always loathed babysitting and being forced to talk baby talk.  (I don’t care that they now say this is not good for children.  everyone does it.)

in fact, when left alone with a child (even my own nephews), i always think, “shit.  what if they die on my watch?”

and it seems that denizens of horror filmmakers share my general terror at the notion of parenting and being left alone with children. because of this, there are millions hundreds of films that are all about the unspeakable horrors children can bring into being.  From Village of the Damned to Bloody Birthday, kids are the killing kind, it seems, so why should i feel bad that i am so frightened, eh?

so when pretty-scary led me to The Children (2008), i had a pretty good idea what kind of treat i’d be in for.  i was excited, to say the least, and i was more than ready to see kids get their evil on and confirm my worst suspicions.

The fact is, The Children is so much more than I imagined it would be.  And Lawd, I could not be happier about that.

Casey and her family (mother [Elaine], stepfather [Douchebag Extraordinaire], half-sister [Miranda], and half-brother[Paulie]) take a Christmas holiday weekend in the English countryside to visit Elaine’s sister, brother-in-law, and two children (Nicky and Leah).  Casey doesn’t want to be there.  She had a party to go to back in their home, and now she is stuck playing forced-babysitter to a bunch of screaming brats.  But here she is nonetheless–with her seemingly kind mother and seemingly skeazy uncle–smoking pot in the greenhouse and hiding her fetus tattoo.

When they arrive at the cottage (because this is a proper English cottage, y’all…. read some Austen to see what I mean), Paulie seems to be sick.  He vomits in the yard.  (AHHHH!!!  Vomit!  Another one of my fears — yes, I actually violently fear vomit.  I am a freak, y’all.)  Elaine assumes, as anyone would, that Paulie got a little carsick.  So they head on in and get the festivities started.

Later that night, we are shown a shot of Leah’s head resting on the pillow next to some kind of…. spot.  It looks a little like some drooled while they had oreo in their mouth, so it’s a little gross, but we take away from the shot (thanks to cutting to microscopic organisms) that the spot is, in fact, germ-y.

The next thing you know, the kids are acting… funny.  I mean, really, they just seem to all be having a temper tantrum at the same time.  This does seem a little convenient, dear readers, and intentionally so.  The kids are, after all, not just having a fit — they are turning… um… evil.  During said fit, Miranda ends up scratching the shit out of her aunt’s face (nice way to play it, Miranda).  This is the first of many acts of violence from kid to adult…. and yes, my loves, from adult to child.

here’s the thing about this movie… it goes there.  in fact, in the immortal words of Degrassi: The Next Generation, it’s the “go thereiest” evil children movie i’ve ever seen.

the thing that makes the movie top the list is the absolutely brutal violence that occurs throughout.  i know people often think if a kid were attacking them, they would just kick like mad until the kid let go.  well, folks, this movie is proof that this is not possible.  think about it: what is a kid if not an angry little mokey-like human being who can wriggle and scratch and attach in ways most cannot?  and so they do.

tom shankland (writer and director of this joyride) has made a film that is, by turns, satisfying, terrifying, and even a bit believable (if you’re scared of kids, that is).  it’s an incredibly brutal and realist event.

you may have heard me say in the past that I really get pissed off when children die in horror movies but they don’t show it.  I mean, what gives?  If you’re going to have your slasher slash-slash a kid, show that shit.  why should they be immune to the depictions of violence, eh?  well, this is something The Children does incedibly well.  There are numerous child death scenes in this movie.  In fact, one was so magnificent that I almost peed my pants and did find myself screaming, “Fuck off!  That was amazing!” at my TV.  So make of that what you will, but if you want to see a child die, well, now is your chance.

in the stream of non-zombie zombie movies that have come out post-28 Days Later, The Children, I think, takes its place near the top.  These are not zombies by traditional standards, no no.  These are thinking zombies, and they’re cute to boot.  The film, in fact, makes much of their cuteness and how they use it to make their will come about.  A clever job on the part of Shankland here.  (Stupid fucking adults.)

The film also takes its place beside all that survival horror.  The natural elements have a role in the film, and there is, of course, the obligatory leg injury that makes someone immobile and vulnerable.  And I have to say, among those films, it ranks pretty high as well–especially in terms of contemporary survival horror (see that piece of shit boring film Eden Lake for proof).

My only qualm with the film is that all of the adults are so damned unwilling to believe that the kids have gone all evil-y.  Where is a childphobic single when you need one?  Eh?

Okay, so i should realize that i am in the minority here.  So i will let this one go.

So is The Children worth seeing.  Damn Skippy, it is.  It’s worth seeing.  It’s worth owning.  It’s worth more than anything Platinum Dunes has done time ten million.

Check it out now.

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~ by acaseofyou12581 on April 2, 2010.

7 Responses to “One of My Greatest Fears Realized…”

  1. Yes, nothing quite as terrifying as creepy kids. BIG fan of the subgenre, I’ll have to check this out.
    P.S. I’ve forwarded this post to your Human Resources Dept. That is all.

  2. Oh shit, I work for a children’s book publisher. I might be in danger now.

    I was actually surprised by how good this was. I mean, don’t get me wrong, the adults in the situation clearly need to man up, but once the evil got going, I was just amazed at how brutal it was–not gory, but brutal.

    It’s really rare a movie actually makes me scream at the TV, but this one did. It’s so nice to come across gems when you’re getting all horror-depressed. (Translation: when the Nightmare on Elm Street remake is about to come out.)

  3. Great post! I just reviewed this for my blog (deadlydollshouse.blogpot.com) and was equally unnerved. For me, the scariest moment was that vomit-inducing breakfast that takes place BEFORE the kids go full-out evil. Just watching four munchkins make THAT much noise was truly horrifying. I do, however, disagree about the reluctance the parents had in acknowledging the craziness of their kids. I thought that was played off well. Chloe’s distraught and already judging her sister’s parenting skills,so she just blames Casey. Elaine’s too frazzled with having to essentially choose between children, and Jonah is a cad who always favors Miranda anyway.

  4. Hey Emily! I can see what you’re saying. I was supremely annoyed by what I saw as Chloe’s stupidity. She was the first to experience the children’s violence, but she is too busy being Maggie Gyllenhaal in Away We go to get down to brass tacks and realize that her own two children are about to slaughter her in the woods. I also feel that she is being willfully ignorant in blaming Casey when it is obvious that Leah is the culprit of the doll in the belly.

    However, I very much see your point.

    And yes! That scene at the table was absolutely horrifying. Jesus, I kept thinking, “Will someone please slap the shit out of these children?!”

    This is why I have a dog and not a child.

    I’ll check out your review post-haste.

  5. OH I definitely agree, but I think Chloe was set up to be a little judgmental and bitchy. Earlier, she clearly senses her husband’s flirtations and outs Casey’s tattoo as sort of petty revenge. Also, she seems to really look down on her sister so that helps make it believable.

    And pets > kids, although my cats talk back too. Also, they tend to puke on stuff. So far no homicidal tendencies but maybe I shouldn’t talk too soon…

  6. Yes, I see what you’re saying about the petty revenge angle. It’s definitely there. Yep.

    My dog is a bit of a puker as well; however, I never fear that she will try to kill me with garden shears… mostly because she doesn’t have thumbs.

  7. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: we are nothing without opposable thumbs.

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