20 September 2007 | cedde6
And a child shall lead them...
This is the tale of a young couple (Peter Horton and Linda Hamilton) stranded in the deserted little town of Gatlin, Nebraska and stalked by a pack of adult killing children worshipping a demon living in the surrounding cornfields.
This very atmospheric piece is a rather humble b-movie that boasts an unusual and interesting premise (thanks to a pretty good short story by Stephen King) and delivers some decent performances from its cast (which is rare with children in general).
Although soft in its depiction of violence, the movie offers some creepy moments (especially in the still effective opening sequence). John Franklin, excellent as the child-preacher Isaac, makes for one odd and creepy looking kid and Courtney Gains inhabits his psychopathic Malachai character with obvious delight.
The cornfields are beautifully shot and the overall is boosted by a pretty efficient score by Jonathan Ellias. And to top this all up, R.G. Armstrong makes here an appearance (albeit a too short one) as a recluse gas station owner.
Don't be fooled though. The movie is far to be a masterpiece. At leading endlessly its main characters around cornfields and then through the deserted town (direct effect of superficially expanding a short story to feature film length), the movie ends up suffering from its slow pace ("Things just aren't happening fast enough" even says Horton at some point) with the characters taking what seems like an improbable amount of time to realise what is afoot.
The danger of young and impressionable minds blindly following extremist religious leaders is certainly an interesting theme but is here barely tapped into.
Finally the climatic sequence, with the manifestation of the collieflower looking "He Who Walks Behind The Rows", is a bit of a let down to say the least.
Those (not so minor) details however are not enough to warrant the bad press the movie gathered upon release (and Stephen King's severe criticisms). "Children of the Corn" is a well performed little soft core horror b-movie that surprisingly enough spawned a franchise and still provides eerie ambiance and creepiness that even, at times, make the few cheap scares work.