Fiends, I just couldn't resist a film with the tagline: "You brought them into this world...Now they will take you out". Awesome! The acclaimed offspring-horror was released on DVD yesterday and well, it's kinda sorta, meh.
The setup is cool - sister one takes her family to deep into the British countryside to meet up at the lavish home of sister two and her family, in which they will celebrate Christmas together. However, one of the kids (who looks and acts disturbingly like my nephew Luke) gets sick and slowly a mysterious virus seems to pervade the bodies of each of the 4 (or is it 5?) kids at the home. This isn't a normal virus, though, and turns each child into a flesh and blood version of Chucky, with the murderous impulses carried out upon various family members.
Certain scenes are clearly designed to show the difficulty of a parent looking upon their child as anything but an angel, and the toughness in making that leap from nurturing to harming. I dunno, I guess you have to have kids for this to take effect, cause I wanted to smash some skulls during the entire thing - and even before the virus took hold. There were some eerie scenes, for sure, and I found the first 20 minutes or so to be effective at setting up realistic relationships and characterizations, and hinting ever so slightly at a uneasy sense of menace that might just be lurking. Beyond that, the plot gets old fast, and the tension that is supposed to be built doesn't really go anywhere.
On the technical side of things, there are a few very intriguing and creative shots in the film, and a couple convincing gore effects as well, though we all know that a couple decent effects do not a good movie make.
If you want creepy kid horror, check out The Bad Seed, The Innocents, Alice, Sweet Alice, The Brood, The Orphanage (Larry Fessenden's directing an American remake, due out in 2011! Speaking of which, who has my copy of Habit?), even Them (ooops, I guess I just gave away that ending, didn't I?), or Roncesvalles at 3:45 pm on a school day (didn't think I was going to let so obvious a reference slip by unmentioned, did you?), among many others. As it stands, The Children is less than the sum of its (at times, quite strong) parts. Too bad, it showed so much promise....