Directed by Donald P. Borchers
In what’s being marketed as a “rebirth,” Children of the Corn revisits the 80’s classic that spawned 6 sequels and countless amounts of children to fear those long weekends in the country. There’s a trend happening again in the Horror genre. A trend that makes a strong case that children are complete creeps. Not only are they capable of being annoying little brats but it seems that in every town, city, county or home, there’s at least one twisted little monster, who in between playing with Trouble the pop-omatic bubble game dreams of popping your skull open and feasting upon the meat of your brain. Word of advice: Don’t have kids and don’t trust kids, they’ll just try to kill you. Children of the Corn, if anything, reaffirms these wise words as well as gives us the much needed visceral satisfaction of brutal violence towards kiddies, resulting in spontaneous moments of high-fiveable child asskickery.
It’s become apparent that the new generation of horror filmmakers truly fear their children. With films like Christopher Denham’s Home Movie (2008), Tom Shankland’s U.K. splash The Children (2008) as well as James Watkins’ under-appreciated romantic getaway gone-wrong Eden Lake (2008) – and let’s not forget possibly the best of the bunch, Swedish filmmaker Tomas Alfredson’s highly acclaimed Let the Right One In (2008), adapted from the John Ajvide Lindqvist novel of the same name – It’s becoming rare to go and see a horror film without being left with the feeling that the kids aren’t alright. What happened to the stiff little brats that used to just look at you with their creepy eyes and control your mind or something? Why do kids these days always have to have some sort of flesh eating rabies or demonic urge to destroy or knives? Whatever happened to kids just saying the darndest things and not trying to gnaw on my spleen?
Oddly enough, Donald P. Borches remodelling, or rebirth, or retry, of Stephen King’s Children of the Corn, is actually a second chance of his own original production from the 80’s, stating that “at the time… [Borches] was quite happy with every one of my decisions, as time went on; I became growingly unhappy with most of my decisions.” A humbling statement in regards to artistic integrity considering the original did financially well and that bridge could have been considered crossed. The rebirth does apparently stay more aligned to the original story (I’ve never read Stephen King’s novel). The new version of the film creates solid dysfunctional characters, isolated landscapes and religious zealotry, saving the film from being brushed aside as another straight-to-video no show. However, the film flutters too often on the verge of ridiculousness. Over-acting (that’s how it was in Nam man!) by bad lead actors make the film at times laughable. Keep your remote handy because some of the over-dramatization and complete disregard for what’s being said on film is worth a second look. – my favourite moment being when Burton (David Sanders) hits a fleeing child in street with his car, later turning to his wife and expressing how disappointed he was in himself for not paying attention, all while completely paying no mind to the road ahead (a skill he seems comfortable with since he spend the rest of the journey driving while not looking at the road.). That being said, the film still remains fun (or funny), be it through good ol’ kiddy punchin’ or inarguably creepy concepts, setting, and atmosphere that KIng already laid out.
The rebirth is in many ways strange. The original did quite well and to this day is held dear to the heart by many horror fans, serving as a good alternative for horror fans who didn’t want to jump in the fire and say watch something like George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead (1968), but could deal with the thrills and chills, as well as higher production values, of a popular Horror writer like Stephen King. For many Children of the Corn (1984), Creepshow (1982), Pet Cemetery (1989) and It (1990) mark some of the scariest films they had seen as children all of course have children as the main protagonists, or villains. Let’s not neglect the fact that Stephen King is also responsible for the writing of more major works such as, The Shining (1980) which in my opinion is still one of the best films of the last 30 years, as well as other favourites such as Carrie (1976), Salem’s Lot (1979), Christine (1983), Cujo (1983), Misery (1990), Stand By Me (1986), The Running Man (1987) and IMDB favourite (seriously the kids love this film) Shawshank Redemption (1994.) This film however probably won’t fall into the any of the above lists, but may find itself accompanied by the likes of Sometimes They Come Back (1991) and the most ingeniously titled Sometimes They Come Back…Again (1996) which was justifiably followed by Sometimes They Come Back…For More (1998), three films that as a child I rented more than I care to discuss but it was over 20 and under 100…sigh.
– Detroit Burns