This will be the first in a series of several, several reviews. Tara (my wife) and I have been going out to the movies quite a bit lately and I've sadly fallen way behind on reviews. While I should probably be telling you how I feel about Funny People or Orphan, I'm going to start with this instead because, well, it's what I just finished watching. So suck it.
I started watching The Children (2008) this morning before realizing that I'd already watched the film before. I don't know if that says exactly what I want to about the film, but it's close: although it's a decent horror film, it's very easily forgettable. The only thing that makes it stand out at all (to me) is that it plays with the taboo of children killing and that some of the children are remarkable actors for their age.
Basically, the story goes as this (IMDB):
The children start to get sick, one by one, and as they each become infected, they become cute lil' murderers. It plays out over the course of a weekend with no real twist and a very, very predictable ending.
When I found amongst the many films I download for no reason ANOTHER film called 'The Children' that was released in 1980, I was excited! Nowhere online had I read or found that the new film was a remake of another film. After watching the original film, I understand why. It's not a remake - the only similarity between the two films is that they both feature children killing people. So let's touch on the first film, which I can't honestly say is better or worse than the new one. Although they're both different, they're both... dumb. However, I expected the 1980 version to be stupid because it's released by Troma and that's what they do.
The story goes like this (again, thank you IMDB) -
Nearby, a school bus carrying six students home from school is driving along the road. Cathy Freemont (Gale Garnett) passes the bus and waves to the children, when suddenly the large cloud of toxic gas drifts into the road. Both vehicles drive through it.
Cathy arrives home, but the school bus is detained somewhere. Sheriff Billy Hart (Gil Rogers) finds the bus haphazardly parked along the side of the road, apparently abandoned in a hurry, with no sign of the children or the bus driver. Hart pays a visit to the home of Tommy Button, one of the children on the bus. Tommy lives with his mother, Leslie (Suzanne Barnes), and her female lover, Dr. Joyce Gould (Michelle Le Mothe). Leslie apparently spends her life dazed and heavily medicated, while Dr. Gould is hostile toward the sheriff for no good reason. She accompanies him to the site of the abandoned bus, where she finds Tommy's things on board. When Hart departs, Joyce goes to walk home when she spots a figure standing in a nearby cemetery. She recognizes it as Tommy, just as it disappears among the gravestones. She rushes up into the cemetery, where she stumbles across the horribly mutilated body of the bus driver; he seems to have been burned from within his clothes, his flesh horribly charred and disfigured. Suddenly Tommy appears behind Joyce, his fingernails black. Relieved, she sweeps him into a reassuring hug, suddenly screaming in agony as her flesh begins to char. Tommy's hands are roasting Joyce alive, and her burnt body falls beside that of the bus driver.
So it goes. Murderous nuclear zombie children go around hugging the town into hamburger. Nobody seems to learn the lesson that in order to save themselves, they simply need to NOT GET HUGGED BY THE CHILDREN. Also, it's pretty easy to kill these zombie children - you just need to cut off their hands, which, if they're infected, can be distinguished from normal children by looking at their fingernails (black fingernails = zombies). This would suck hard for goth children who aren't infected obviously.
The best part about this film is just how retarded it is. The stereotyped parents of all the children in town scream out for death - they're liberals, lesbians, and drinkers. They're nudists and art collectors. As one person stated in a different review:
So, to wrap it up: neither movie is really worth any valuable time you have, but if you're a horror buff who has to see it all, see 'em both. I can't say that I regretted watching either of them (like I could say about a lot of other films), but I can't say I'd recommend either one of them as a genuinely scary film.
I'm going to start ranking movies with *, five being the best. Seems easy.
The Children (2008) - **
The Children (1980) - **