Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Horror for the Holidays: The Children

Howdy all and welcome to Day 2 of Horror for the Holidays. Well the weather outside is less frightful than the movie I have for you today. Let's see if our friends across the pond can scare and chill us to the bone, shall we? This movie is the work of Tom Shankland, TV and Movie director (Bubbles, Bait, Hearts and Bones, Clocking Off, Jericho and Ripper Street) and looks to be interesting using a killer theme with a less than 50% success rate so let's give this DVD a whirl. This is The Children.

Well this was no skiing accident!

Two families have gathered together for a cozy Christmas and New Year's holiday in an isolated house far from the hustle and bustle of civilization. A perfect getaway thinks Elaine (Eva Birthistle of Breakfast on Pluto, Imagine Me & You, The State Within, The Last Enemy and Wake Wood) and her second husband Jonah (Stephen Campbell Moore of The History Boys, The Bank Job, Season of the Witch and Hunted). Traveling with Elaine's teenage daughter Casey (Hannah Tointon of Hollyoaks, Doctors, Switch, The Hour and Love Matters) and her step-siblings Miranda (Eva Sayer of Inspector Lewis, EastEnders, The Children, The Day of the Triffids and The Turn of the Screw) and Paulie (William Howes of The Children) everyone is a bit bouncy, punchy and glad to be out of the SUV. Arriving at the house that is Chloe's (Rachel Shelley of Lighthouse, Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India, The L Word and Rogue), Elaine's sister, her husband Robbie (Jeremy Sheffield of Hollyoaks, Merlin, The Wedding Date and Coronation Street) and their two children Nicky (Jake Hathaway of The Children, The Bill, The Tudors and The King's Speech) and Leah (Rafiella Brooks of The Children and Gulliver's Travels) looking forward to a fun-filled Christmas when Paulie starts summoning the earl, which the adults presume is travel sickness.


Tee hee *whispers I kill you*

As the night falls, Nicky and Leah are also taken back with showing symptoms of the same sickness. Rebelious teen Casey plans to ditch the family to go party with her friends when the family cat Jinxie seems to be hiding in the dense cul-de-sac forest and refuses to show itself. As this night progressing the kids seem to be almost malevolent in their actions and dinner is ruined by Nicky as Robbie takes the rest of the scamps outside to play.

Nicky seems to have in his head to turn on dear old dad and do the old boy in. Why you may ask? Um... were you not reading about this illness? Try to keep up, would you please? Chloe now just shattered seeing her husband in a pool of blood Casey is given the task to find the kids. Robbie's body goes missing as Jonah and Elaine attempt to comfort Chloe. Casey finds Robbie's remains as he has clearly been disemboweled. Will the adults believe Casey on what she saw? Will it all end in tears? And who is finishing the mince pie?

A few comments about the movie now. Most of the violence is kept off-screen and eluded to but the first adult attack is extremely violent and looks like Home Alone: The Dark Chapter. Using a bit of tension with musicial score, pull back pan and some tight zooms the anxiety in and out of the house build up. They really can't call the cops to save them, they don't have the heart to attack their own kids and they have never been put upon this situation before.

With simple household and gardening equipment, these little actors did an excellent job of convincing me they have gone completely crackers. With the exception of Village of the Damned, very few kid killer thrillers work. Most fall into the Children of the Corn territory and you are left laughing at the screen. The Children will preveal in terms of horror. Not one to share with the kids for many reasons.