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"The Children" Reviews/Discussion - 2010 Horror Challenge: Day 14

Old 10-07-10, 08:28 PM
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"The Children" Reviews/Discussion - 2010 Horror Challenge: Day 14



The Children (2008)



IMDB PAGE

Selected by llandros.

These "October Horror Movie Challenge" threads are for the discussion of the films in the 31 Films in 31 Days Subset.

Main Discussion Thread | The List Thread

The plan is for everyone to watch this film on the October day in the thread title, and to start discussing it the morning of the following day.
You may start discussion early if you want, but the preferred plan is for this to be as much of a group exercise as possible, with all of us viewing it "together" and discussing after.

Of course, you are totally encouraged to participate in these threads even if you haven't watched the movie on the designated day.
Even if you haven't watched it in years, or are not participating in the Horror Challenge, please feel free to chime in.

Spoiler tags are unnecessary in these discussion threads, so if you have yet to see the film BEWARE OF SPOILERS.

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Old 10-14-10, 10:31 AM
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Re: "The Children" Reviews/Discussion - 2010 Horror Challenge: Day 14

Wow, just watched a film that really disturbed me, today's 31 Film Subset choice, The Children (2008).

Now, I'll admit that I am affected by emotion fairly easily. I pretty much never cry, but emotional scenes in films and even commercials make me "well up" often. Surprisingly, that hasn't happened for any of the films I've watched this month iirc, until this morning.

This one really hit me. I could feel the strong emotions as they were hitting the various characters. And the overall feeling of creepiness and dread as the main plot developed was palpable.

Can't really comment on the technical aspects of the film right now, as the emotions of it are still all I can feel. And I guess that could be argued as making the film incredibly successful and well done, at least in my individual experience.
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Old 10-14-10, 10:51 AM
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Re: "The Children" Reviews/Discussion - 2010 Horror Challenge: Day 14

I happened to watch this last month and thought it was decent. Some really good gore and the children cast were effectively creepy. I never thought it really explained well as to what the hell was going on and the movie just kind of ends with no real resolution if I remember correctly.

My rating: ***1/2 out of *****
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Old 10-14-10, 05:12 PM
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Re: "The Children" Reviews/Discussion - 2010 Horror Challenge: Day 14

Well, you see, THIS is what happens when you home school. Being a childcare worker, this film is either a nightmare or a daydream. I admit to being hard on modern horror films as my reviews can contest. For a change, here are a few words of defence. One of the problems of modern horror is all the films that came before this current generations crop. Certain “scare” techniques have been recycled over and over again and it seems like horror filmmakers have rung that bell so many times that it’s now nothing more than a handle. They have set up expectations. Audiences (like the characters in Scream) know the patterns and for crazy people like me who watch 100 horror films every October the repletion can be misconstrued as unoriginal. Don’t get me wrong, in some cases it is but The Children doesn’t fall into that category. Stories of killer kiddies, for obvious reasons, don’t get made a much as they possibly should. Congrats Brits for having some balls with your tea. Kids make good baddies because of their innocence and innocence wielding an ax is some scary, scary shit especially if the innocent one hasn’t been given his AD/HD meds like the rest of his friends. Thankfully, the pint-sized monsters in this film went to the Gage School of Acting. Yet, where the film takes steps forward by being bold in its subject matter and in not really *cough*telling*cough* the audience the cause of the problem it takes a few steps back by sticking to the same old pop scare method. You’d think with its homage to the Shining the filmmakers could have taken note to make this a bit more psychological but I guess one Danny Torrence is freaky enough. I also firmly believe that all films showcasing gangs of demented murderous children should have them, at least once, shouting “Malachai!” and/or “outlander!”
RATING: **.5
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Old 10-15-10, 12:56 AM
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Re: "The Children" Reviews/Discussion - 2010 Horror Challenge: Day 14

Okay British horror film takes place at Christmas, when the kids at an extended family get-together come down with what at first appears to be a stomach virus...but it's a stomach virus with a body count. I guess because I spend most of my day around large numbers of children (as a public school district employee), I usually don't find killer kids movies to be too scary. I mean, kids are small, and they don't have sharp fangs or claws like dangerous animals. So even if dozens of children suddenly turned rabid, I don't think that it'd be that difficult to defend yourself against them or escape. In killer kids movies like this one, you usually have an adult who, instead of just running away, backs into a corner and sits. This would be somewhat akin to a victim in a slasher movie taking a marker and drawing dotted lines on his abdomen, showing the killer exactly where to cut. In the end, even though this movie has garnered some praise from certain circles, I found it to be pretty average. It's not bad, but it's nothing special, either.
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Old 10-15-10, 06:29 AM
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Re: "The Children" Reviews/Discussion - 2010 Horror Challenge: Day 14

Originally Posted by rbrown498 View Post
I usually don't find killer kids movies to be too scary. I mean, kids are small, and they don't have sharp fangs or claws like dangerous animals. So even if dozens of children suddenly turned rabid, I don't think that it'd be that difficult to defend yourself against them or escape. In killer kids movies like this one, you usually have an adult who, instead of just running away, backs into a corner and sits.
I could beat up ninety 5 year olds.

But you're missing the emotional/psychological component here. Not many people could injure their own child/nephew/cousin, especially under the emotional circumstances depicted in the film.
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Old 10-15-10, 07:14 AM
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Re: "The Children" Reviews/Discussion - 2010 Horror Challenge: Day 14

Originally Posted by Trevor View Post
I could beat up ninety 5 year olds.

But you're missing the emotional/psychological component here. Not many people could injure their own child/nephew/cousin, especially under the emotional circumstances depicted in the film.
And not only that, but if I remember correctly, the kills happen in hard to defend ways. Like the sledding kill and the greenhouse kill. I forget how the first mother bite the dust but I don't remember any of the kills coming down to being able to wrestle with the kids and overpower them.
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Old 10-15-10, 07:24 AM
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Re: "The Children" Reviews/Discussion - 2010 Horror Challenge: Day 14

Originally Posted by brianluvdvd View Post
And not only that, but if I remember correctly, the kills happen in hard to defend ways. Like the sledding kill and the greenhouse kill. I forget how the first mother bite the dust but I don't remember any of the kills coming down to being able to wrestle with the kids and overpower them.
True. Some similar child killer movies have the unrealistic 'child overpowering adult' thing rbrown is complaining about, but not this film. True, the one mother just sort of gave up, but given the physical and emotional trauma she had undergone, it was very understandable. Just that broken leg alone, with all the moving she did on it, would wear a person out.
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Old 10-15-10, 08:33 AM
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Re: "The Children" Reviews/Discussion - 2010 Horror Challenge: Day 14

Exactly. That's why I liked it and it didn't seem like the normal "child horror" film where you just ask, why not punch the shit out of the kid? No scenes that I remember lend themselves to that train of thought. And I made a mistake in my previous post. In the greenhouse kill, one of the kids was actually killed and that just added to the massive trauma for the involved adults. I thought about it after I typed my initial post.

And that leg injury...ouch!

My main beef with the film was the poor explanation, if any, on why the kids are acting this way. Yeah, one parent is talking amount herbal remedies or something but it is never touched on as why it is affecting the kids, why it makes them want to kill, how it spreads, etc. I don't have to have stuff usually spelled out for me but they left all of this too vague on a plot point that the entire movie hinges upon. And the ending was poor.
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Old 10-15-10, 09:12 AM
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Re: "The Children" Reviews/Discussion - 2010 Horror Challenge: Day 14

Originally Posted by brianluvdvd View Post
My main beef with the film was the poor explanation, if any, on why the kids are acting this way. Yeah, one parent is talking amount herbal remedies or something but it is never touched on as why it is affecting the kids, why it makes them want to kill, how it spreads, etc. I don't have to have stuff usually spelled out for me but they left all of this too vague on a plot point that the entire movie hinges upon. And the ending was poor.
The almost non-explanation didn't bother me with this one, although I can understand the complaint.

Sometimes weird stuff just happens. They showed the kids slowly getting sick one by one, and I was cool with the exact mechanism being a mystery. I imagined it being a freak experimental virus released by the government in the isolated residence.

But yes, the ending could have been much better.
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Old 10-15-10, 10:16 AM
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Re: "The Children" Reviews/Discussion - 2010 Horror Challenge: Day 14

But you're missing the emotional/psychological component here. Not many people could injure their own child/nephew/cousin, especially under the emotional circumstances depicted in the film.
Then don't hurt them, just run.

And you've got to admit that several of the adults are killed or hurt less through the kids' skill than by dumb luck. The man who's killed by the sled? It would take an incredibly exacting blow with some major force behind it for a three-pronged garden tool to cause THAT much damage. And the guy at the end? If he'd a) stopped the car and gotten out or b) not been going so fast or c) been wearing a seatbelt HE'D still be alive.

I guess that my biggest problem with the film was trying to find a reason to care about this scenario. We've all seen killer kid films before...why did the guys who made this one think that the world needed another? Other films (like It's Alive from a few days ago) have parents wrestling with the same dilemma that these parents faced. What exactly makes this movie stand out enough to differentiate itself from other films like it? My answer to that last question is "nothing," and that's why the film was just okay.

Again, I just didn't find it scary or particularly interesting. I don't see myself ever having the urge to rewatch it.

I was cool with the exact mechanism being a mystery. I imagined it being a freak experimental virus released by the government in the isolated residence.
My thought was that the rock that the girl found in the woods looked at first to be just a blood-covered rock, but after looking at it a few seconds I thought that it looked more like blood-colored crystals. Maybe a meteorite that carried the virus to earth?
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Old 10-15-10, 11:32 AM
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Re: "The Children" Reviews/Discussion - 2010 Horror Challenge: Day 14

Originally Posted by rbrown498 View Post
Then don't hurt them, just run.
I take it you're not a parent. I was more surprised that some of them did decide to run, rather than the other way around.
Originally Posted by rbrown498 View Post
And you've got to admit that several of the adults are killed or hurt less through the kids' skill than by dumb luck. The man who's killed by the sled? It would take an incredibly exacting blow with some major force behind it for a three-pronged garden tool to cause THAT much damage. And the guy at the end? If he'd a) stopped the car and gotten out or b) not been going so fast or c) been wearing a seatbelt HE'D still be alive.
Actually, the sled accident doesn't bother me at all. Stuff like that actually happens. I've worked in an ER for 25 years and have seen all kinds of weird dismemberments and deaths from common things. Fall just right while holding a pencil and sever your jugular.
Originally Posted by rbrown498 View Post
I guess that my biggest problem with the film was trying to find a reason to care about this scenario. We've all seen killer kid films before...why did the guys who made this one think that the world needed another? Other films (like It's Alive from a few days ago) have parents wrestling with the same dilemma that these parents faced. What exactly makes this movie stand out enough to differentiate itself from other films like it? My answer to that last question is "nothing," and that's why the film was just okay.
I think this is different in that it does a much better job in communicating the various emotions. The fear, sadness, and confusion in the adults is obvious, but one emotion that I noticed is one in the kids. Maybe I'm wrong, but a couple of times as the kids were turning, I could see the fear and confusion in them. They would be normal, get sick, get these urges to hurt the adults, act of them, but then momentarily have a genuine shock and fear at what they had just done. It was like the "normal-ness" in them was fighting for one last brief instant. Obviously the child actors aren't good enough to do this on their own, so it was either exceptional direction or me reading too much into things.

To me, this film is miles above every other "bad child" film I've seen because of the intensity of the emotions and how the actors portrayed them.
Originally Posted by rbrown498 View Post
Again, I just didn't find it scary or particularly interesting. I don't see myself ever having the urge to rewatch it.
Of course I'm not arguing this. There are plenty of films that most people love that I think are awful. I totally "get" all of your complaints, just feel differently and am in the mood to type.
Originally Posted by rbrown498 View Post
My thought was that the rock that the girl found in the woods looked at first to be just a blood-covered rock, but after looking at it a few seconds I thought that it looked more like blood-colored crystals. Maybe a meteorite that carried the virus to earth?
Oh, good idea.
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Old 10-15-10, 12:10 PM
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Re: "The Children" Reviews/Discussion - 2010 Horror Challenge: Day 14

Well, that certainly was disturbing!!! I really liked it a lot and my only complaint is the same one I've seen other people mention: I would like to have had some explanation as to what was causing the sickness in the kids. I guess I wanted more and with the already short run time, it seems like it could have been added and not felt like it dragged the movie out.

The last two British horror films I've seen (this and Eden Lake) have both been top notch.
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Old 10-15-10, 05:38 PM
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Re: "The Children" Reviews/Discussion - 2010 Horror Challenge: Day 14

Thanks, llandros for picking this. I loved it.

I didn't have an emotional reaction at all to this, except that I felt frightened for the parents. I'm not sure why some were really touched by this, and I wasn't. I've had kids for 15 years of my life, so maybe I experience things differently.

And I agree with it being better off with no explanation. I liked not knowing what the heck the cause was, or knowing just as much as the characters. Also, I was thinking in the back of my mind that the ER wasn't showing up because kids got to them. And what do you know, they must have ran out of people to "get" and showed up at the end.

Great framing, also.
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Old 10-15-10, 07:21 PM
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Re: "The Children" Reviews/Discussion - 2010 Horror Challenge: Day 14

I can see where some might be divided on this movie, but i found it pretty effective. For the first half, you can view it as menacing children or just paranoia with some tragic results. One character in a VERY throwaway method makes a statement that new unknown viruses are discovered every day. I guess I was just willing to go with it regardless.

The real problem I had is that how can you expect a mother/father or aunt/uncle to harm one of the kids? I'm glad that they didn't take that route and instead played out the emotional and psychological aspect of the tragedy. You have to think, that after the first accident on the sled, all people would be in a state of shock and confusion. Add the stress of the holidays, isolation in the country without immediate help, and the 'illness'/odd behavior of the children, it's easy for me to see how tough it would be for anyone to think logically. Plus, the red-herring of the two daughters (one for the characters, the other for the audience) was a nice touch.

For those that enjoyed it, I'm glad and stick by the recommendation. I still liked it my second time through.
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Old 10-16-10, 03:47 PM
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Re: "The Children" Reviews/Discussion - 2010 Horror Challenge: Day 14

Thought it was good, especially the disbelief in the adults that made it easy to divide and conquer. I kept waiting for some druid spirit connection with the woods, but never got anything other than vague viral references. I guess this could be "28 Hours Later" to kick off the 28 "trilogy". LOL. Then at the end, did the teenage daughter just take longer to fall under the effects or was she just in shock and sick from her mother having to kill again to protect her?
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