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  • One of the most effective aspects of this movie is the way the tension builds inexorably. From the moment you see the children there is an impending sense of doom. The children themselves are both brilliantly cast and wonderfully realistic, by which I mean that their behaviour is easily recognisable as the normal behaviour of manipulative and moody kids, until it spills over to the purely demonic.

    The rest of the cast who, apart from Stephen Campbell Moore, I didn't recognise, all portrayed characters who were very believable, even if not entirely sympathetic. After all, how can you sympathise with smug middle class parents discussing homeschooling now that they've sold the business? The adults were in fact wonderfully flawed, matched in spades by Casey, who enters the movie as the least sympathetic character: selfish, self absorbed, and distant in the way that only a sixteen year old can be. However, Casey is arguably the real hero.

    The script skillfully presents the tip of the iceberg, suggesting and hinting at the unseen part of the characters' lives, never spelling everything out, but crediting the audience with the wit to work some things out for themselves. The horror cliché of characters doing stupid or unrealistic things that annoy the audience was always avoided, as was the use of the dark. Instead the action takes place against a white Christmas backdrop, which sadly reminded me a little of Reny Harlin's 'snow' bound Die Hard 2, but even so the blood on snow motif was very effective.

    Tom Shankland's script, and in particular the dialogue, was very convincing, but he is also a highly visual director. According to my girlfriend the Miss Marple he helmed is quite beautifully photographed, and I really liked the atmosphere and visuals in WAZ. The Children also has the same stunning images, which along with the very powerful soundtrack, conjure a mood of foreboding and dread. If you appreciate horror movies with tension and beauty as well as a succession of wince- inducing set pieces, then this is a film for you.
  • The Children is directed by Tom Shankland who adapts the screenplay from a Paul Andrew Williams story. It stars Eva Birthistle, Stephen Campbell, Hannah Tointon, Eva Sayer, William Howes, Rachel Shelley and Jeremy Sheffield. Music is by Stephen Hilton and cinematography by Nanu Segal.

    A Christmas holiday at a remote country home turns into a fight for survival when the children suddenly start to turn on the adults.....

    Could you kill your own kid? There's a nasty edge to Shankland's little shocker, and we are not just talking about creepy kids offing adults here. Although lifting freely from classic evil-children horrors from the past, The Children manages to remain fresh by playing on the aspect of the parents' refusal to accept that their cherubic offspring could do evil. Even when faced with blatant malevolence, the adults struggle to fight back. I mean, could you drop-kick your own child down the stairs? Added kicker in the writing is that the only character in the set-up who grasps what is going on is the troubled teenager (Tointon excellent), a nice twist for it is so often the case in horror movies that we bemoan dumb teens doing even dumber things.

    With the makers unfolding the drama amongst a virginal snowy setting, there's much thought gone into crafting more than just a standard gory shocker. Shankland shows a good sense of mood and pacing, drip-feeding the unease and never getting carried away with the premise. His closeup camera-work has an unsettling quality to it, while the deaths are inventive and mercifully not over done, the editing neatly giving us the viewers the chance to fill in the blanks. Some of the adult actors irritate rather than gain our belief, and the odd "dumb" reaction to a situation rears its ugly head. But mostly this is a thoughtful and spicy Brit horror that's worth seeking out by those after more than your rank and file slasher movie. 7/10
  • Horrid smug Middle class parents get killed by and kill their own children, what could be better? Who could not enjoy this? Well, other than 15 year olds who can't appreciate a horror film with *shock horror* time spent on genuine character development, a decent script and people behaving in a believable manner when confronted and confused by the horror they're confronted with.

    The Children is great because it's a rare oasis in the desert of generic (mainly US) horror, these are parents who understandably find it difficult to accept their own children have become killers and are obviously not too enamoured with the idea of killing their own offspring (which explains to certain 15 year old fools why the adults are so easily overcome). There are no generic idiot teens walking into danger for no discernible reason, in fact the one teen Casey (played excellently by Hannah Tointon) is the strongest character in the film.

    This is the best Horror film I've seen in quite a while...if it doesn't appeal to teenage horror much the better.
  • Two families gather at a remote house for a Christmas and new year holiday. However, the young children affected by something in the woods, begin to turn on the adults.

    I have to say, this movie was a welcome surprise. Written and directed by Tom Shankland (who made WAZ), and based on a story from Paul Andrew Williams (who made the recent horror The Cottage), The Children is a very well made movie.

    One of the main reasons I enjoyed it was that it never explains why the children are doing what they are doing. It's suggested there is something in the woods to blame, but it is never fully explained. In a way this is similar to The Ruins, or even Rec and I liked that. Too many movies try to explain what is going on, but the better horror movies leave it open and I think this approach works better, as it does here.

    The cast are all pretty good, with special mention given to Eva Sayer as one of the children, and Hannah Tointon as Casey the only teen in the group.

    One of the clever things about this movie, and there are many things to like about it,is how the adults react as events get out of control. To begin with they are nice and friendly couples (the two women being sisters), but as the movie progresses, they turn on themselves as they refuse to accept what is happening. Of course by the time they do realise what is going on, it's much too late!

    The movie is rated 15 in the UK, and does keep most of the violence off-screen, but it is creepy through-out, and Shankland keeps the tension and unease high, even when nothing has happened yet. And he stages some some impressive scenes, especially the first adult attack, involving a sledge, a trolley, with sharp items on it. It could almost come from a Final Destination movie!

    And to top of everything, there is the ending. While not a truly bleak ending (although some may see it that way), it's a very, very creepy ending, and one I really didn't expect.

    As horror movies go for this year, this is one of the best I've seen.
  • A worthy British Horror film that delivers, despite a low budget. The twist is the use of children both as the perpetrators, and victims, of killing. Largely a cinematic taboo. Director Tom Shankland ekes the maximum value out of a single setting, and small cast, wringing every ounce out of an interesting idea.

    Two related smug middle class couples spend the new year in the English Countryside with their children when something makes "good children go bad". The rustling trees and undergrowth are very reminiscent of the Happening. The malevolent children reprising themes from "The Omen", "The Brood" and "Village of the Damned". Shankland creates some genuinely scary scenes as the children turn on their bewildered parents. But insufficient prior characterisation means that the viewer tends to be more irritated by the adults poor decision making, than be sympathetic to their plight. The gratuitous "blonde in underwear" shot shows that Shankland understands the demands of the genre well! A generally pacey 84 minute story has expired as the film draws to its close, but the final shot is still pretty chilling, is a fitting coda, and offers the opportunity of a sequel. The fact that what has happened is not explained is a bonus, rather than a source of frustration, and the blood and gore, particularly as it is delivered by children, stretches the 15 certification to its limits.

    Sufficiently off beat, both in terms of location and content, to satisfy the Horror crowd, and potentially a minor Cult classic.
  • The premise of this movie is indeed real, primal horror. During the holidays, a family reunion turns into a madness when children become increasingly disturbed, due to what looks like a mysterious illness.

    "Creepy kids" have been done a number of times in cinema but what separates this latest entry from many that came before it is the feeling that these kids are still kids. Certainly disturbed and not totally themselves but not entirely evil. Cruel but not zombies, mind controlled or aliens. There is still fear and fragility, which makes them a lot scarier for viewers, especially parents.

    Adding to the horror is that when the parents stand up for themselves against the kids, these acts of resistance are "unsatisfying" to us, unlike other movies of the genre. That is, you do remain conflicted as a viewer instead of the typical Hollywood trash. And *that* is what horror is about.

    The story is good, well-paced with a suitably tensed escalation of the menace the children represent. The characters coping with this threat (a group of adults and a teenager) are believable instead of walking clichés.

    On the downside, the movie has a definite low-budget feel to it. I was surprised that Tom Shankland would direct something like this after his previous work, the polished horror/thriller Waz. A low budget plus a lot of kid actors mean that corners were cut. The film would certainly have benefited from more takes. A lot more takes, in fact. The adult actors are underwhelming and the script could have used another pass or two to make it more compelling from start to end. There are still two or three very memorable sequences in the movie, such as the one following the first body's disappearance. But overall I think Shankland will cringe at a lot of scenes here. For instance, one character spends some great deal of time with a serious injury but the result on camera is completely unbelievable.

    So what we are left with is an indie movie with a lot of heart and that does a lot of things well. It is extremely courageous in its treatment. It offers something good and refreshing. And it could have been a masterpiece with slightly more budget. I'm giving this a well-deserved 6.

    As a complement to this film and to see the "other side of the coin", I strongly suggest watching Lars E. Jacobson's "Baby Blues" immediately before or after "The Children".
  • Being a Horror Film person I have seen them all and was not expecting much from the trash that is flushed out to us. But I'm pleased to tell you that this movie was a nice surprise. The plot was basic, the characters were believable, and the movie had a nice pace. To most the premise itself seems to have been done before but No it has not the way that this film does it. All is revealed in this film and the cause is actually believable. I would highly recommend this film to anyone that enjoys horror films. The people that got on to give this one a low score obviously know nothing about the genre and need to go rate movies like High school musical or Paul Blart the Mall Cop. Official Chickencow post unaffiliated with any Film Company
  • After so many good reviews I was pretty psyched to see The Children. Several times I'd seen it put on a par with "Eden Lake", which I thought was one of the most tense, horrifying, well-conceived horrors of recent times.

    I must say it started out really promising. It looked like it was paying close attention to building atmosphere and establishing characters - which is a rarity these days. It was quiet and disturbing for the first half hour, not to mention beautifully shot. I was settling in nicely, absorbed into the character's little Christmas get-together, and pleasantly anticipating the start of the horror.

    But then it really went off the rails fast. There was a sudden rapid-fire sequence of ill-conceived, unbelievable, almost "Rube-Goldbergian" death and injury scenes, followed by a bunch of hysterical characters who - if they weren't doing something downright stupid and frustrating - were instead doing something that just didn't make any sense.

    I spent a good deal of the last half of the film turning to my significant other and saying "I don't get why that character just did that..." The characters motivations for even the simplest actions through the last half of the film seem so weak as to almost be alien. In fact, the evil "possessed" children were acting in a more understandable way than the apparently normal adults.

    You can't excuse the way the adults in the film act by simply believing they are operating under extreme circumstances the way you can in movies like "Eden Lake". But you can explain it by shoddy, lazy writing. Most of the movies I've seen in recent weeks had okay screenplays but floundered on bad directing. This was the exact opposite - beautiful directing ruined by a really weak script.

    Dangit I'd hoped this would be a good one. Oh well, onto the next...
  • Saw a preview of this. Was worried that it would be a bit cheesy but it had me and my girlfriend on the edge of our seats. Really gripping and uses psychological rather than gore to scare. Very good for a British horror and has a kind of style and gloss that you usually associate with American films. Lead girl (the one from Hollyoaks) is fantastic and very cute and there are good turns from some excellent upcoming British actors. Jeremy Sheffield (the handsome one from Holby City) is excellent I'm surprised he has not been a leading man before. Story pitch is about a couple of middle class families with issues who meet up for Chistmas together. One of the kids seems to have a virus and over the holiday gradually the behaviour of the children starts to change as they become wild and feral and turn on their over anxious parents. For people with kids it's pretty uncomfortable and creepy, but if you've ever got fed up of those overly protective middle class parents who let their kids do whatever they want and can't control them, then this is good fun. I notice it's from the same director as WAZ, which was also a good film so it seems like he knows what he is doing and is one to watch in future.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    How anyone can give this more than a 1 is beyond me. I guess it depends on what you're looking for on a cold day in April.

    If you like single shot close ups of objects fluttering in the breeze, blood seeping into snow, middle class screamers and the occasional screaming brat then this is the film for you. Lots of dead staring and vomiting; my guess, to show that the kids have some sort of virus I believe - although this is never explained in any way or form in the film. But the clue would be in the amount of vomit left by each child (missed by all parents throughout the film) which has its affect one by one as the brats turn into Mac wearing make up freaks.

    The clue here is... when you see miniature people running around in shiny plastic jackets (Don't Look Now) you run for your life. You do not hang around screaming and ignoring vomit and nearly dead people with brains oozing. You take the nearest car and you run. I can, of course only speak for myself when I say I hated the parents and I hated the kids, so no real loss there then. I didn't like any of the characters so I became a cheerleader for the kids to 'go get 'em'.

    All in all, if you're looking for a Chucky 1,2,3,4,5,6,7 come baby Blair Witch Project with mini Gordon Ramsay people running around with knives screaming 'Mummy' then this is the film for you!
  • So I'm a big horror junkie and I took a chance on this title (as some people have gone as far as rating it 10/10 on IMDb?????) I always TRUST IMDb so I spent (wasted) some hard-earned cash on hiring this flick. My friends and I had set aside a "scary movie evening" for which we prepared a dinner, and then after turned off all the lights to create a "scary" atmosphere. And then we pressed PLAY...

    5 minutes into the film I couldn't help but feel embarrassed for being the one responsible for hiring this DVD: The sound was so bad that none of us could make out what they were saying. Okay, so it's a low-budget production. So we put the volume on 100% and we soldiered on, holding thumbs that it would get better. But it didn't. It just got worse and worse: No storyline, no plot, no intention whatsoever. Just loads of inadequate (and badly acted) crying and moaning. SO IRRITATING!!! It was really just a looped replay of: "Where's the child?" "Lets go find the child", "OK, found the child!" Somebody dies. Nobody cares. Evil child disappears. "Ok, Where's the child?".... and SO IT WENT ON AND ON AND ON IN CIRCLES. With some "horrifying" (pffft!!) close-ups of a germ/virus on a pillow (WTF?). No, seriously guys! What a LOAD OF RUBBISH.

    So, I made it my mission to be kind and to make sure that I posted a review of this movie to save any curious body the agony of sitting through it... just for in case YOU might think it would be an evening of good entertainment. Please please don't bother. I could've shot a better movie in my back yard, on a cellphone camera.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This movie was drier than the Sahara Desert in the summer. No back story as to how these kids got the killer virus. Don't waste your time on this piece of crap movie and pray they never make a sequel. The plot (if you can call it that)of this movie is about a family who goes to visit their extended family over the holidays and the kids all come down with this "mysterious" virus that turns them into miniature homicidal maniacs. The only one not sick is the teenager who at one point in the movie gets blamed for what is happening with the kids. The ending is confusing as hell. Not only was the plot poor but so was the writing. The only reason I watched this was because I read an article online stating it was one of the most disturbing movies. The only thing disturbing was how bad it was. Thankfully I didn't buy it, I borrowed it from my local library.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    There's a very loose plot with a lot of screaming and phony crying. Repeat A LOT of screaming from the very minute the movie starts. I spent a lot of my time with my fingers in my ears. I couldn't take any of the characters seriously and considering the landscape, why is it that the police and ambulance couldn't get there? Two cards managed to get away plus the friends were going to come and pick the oldest kid up and it didn't seem to be a hassle.

    It's a lot of same old same old. The only reason I'm not giving it a 0 out of 10 because '0' isn't an option and there are a few elements of surprise.
  • The Good Son, Devil Times Five, Bloody Birthday, Children of the Corn, Who Could Kill A Child?, Wicked Little Things, Village of the Damned, The Bad Seed, The Omen II: there are many films that have presented kids as malevolent killers, but the really effective 'scary children' movies can easily be counted on the fingers of one hand and The Children is not one of them.

    Although the brats in this film are undoubtedly wicked, casually offing their parents with a variety of sharp implements, they lack the genuine sense of menace essential for a really effective 'evil child' shocker, their diminutive stature and unconvincing blank stares unlikely to send a shiver up the spine of even the most timid of movie-goers. The adults in the film do their best to convince us otherwise, looking absolutely terrified when confronted by a three foot tall moppet and screaming their lungs out at every available opportunity, but all the histrionics in the world ain't going to turn these tiny tykes into the bogeyman.

    Furthermore, the film suffers from editing that is more far more diabolical than any of its murderous children, making certain scenes virtually impossible to follow, and the script is hampered by both contrivance and ambiguity: I'm not one of those people that needs everything spelt out for me to enjoy a movie, but The Children's lack of exposition feels suspiciously like a cop-out—as though the writers just couldn't be bothered to come up with a convincing reason for the kids' startling behaviour.

    I appreciate the fact that director Tom Shankland (who was also responsible for the disappointing WAZ) doesn't shy away from depicting the violence in graphic detail, particularly when the grown-ups start to fight back (showing a kiddy meeting a grisly fate is still considered a step too far by many); and I appreciate even more that hot Hollyoaks babe Hannah Tointon gets to prance around for the whole film in an insanely short mini-skirt and over-the-knee stockings (and her mum ain't bad either); but even those elements do not come close to compensating for the film's crappier qualities.

    Quite how The Children has garnered so many positive comments and an average rating of 6.4 here on IMDb is beyond me, but I'm giving it a scathing review and a score of 2/10 in order to try and redress the balance.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    The Children is a 2008 British Horror film directed by Tom Shankland. It follows a family as they try to escape the grasps of their suddenly estranged children who show signs of murderous behaviour.

    I found this film interesting and extremely shocking, mainly due to its representation of children. It is often conventional for horrors to use children as they represent purity and innocence so it shocks and affects a viewer strongly to see a child taking part in strange, paranormal and evil behaviour. However, many horrors write children to be possessed or turned evil and in the end, the child will be cured, which we see in the film Insidious, directed by James Wan. In The Children, they are abnormal right from the start of the film and they aren't changed, leaving the audience in mystery as to why. I think the most shocking of all though, for me at least, was the extremely graphic and violent deaths involved. Most films will shy away from killing off a child character at all costs, but The Children doesn't hesitate. In fact, we see the parents of these children murdering them, violently and horrifically, which is something that most parents couldn't even comprehend in their heads. It turns the relationship between parents and offspring on its head and makes it extremely evil and twisted and, arguably, sadistic. The cinematography for this film was to a good standard but probably not the best I've seen. It was definitely impressive for a seemingly low budget film. It allowed you to get a good view of all the action while making it interesting and creating tension. The soundtrack was also very crucial to this film and I feel it heavily relied on its soundtrack to create suspense, tension and atmosphere. All in all, a good film that definitely got my attention! It left a few memorable expressions on my face! Definitely worth a watch and really represents the British horror film industry well.
  • A family goes to visit the wife's sister during Christmas season out in the woods. Together both families have a bunch of kids and one wise teenager. One of the fathers tries to convince the other to get into business with him selling alternative medicine. The kids are annoying to say the least. Eventually one by one the kids get start coughing and we are led to believe that there's some bug going around- a bug that makes the kids go nuts. And once crazy, the kids are even more insufferable. But they also become murderous- the cat disappears, one dad ends up with his head bashed in, one mom ends up with a broken leg. It's only then when some of the adults realize that something isn't right with the Children. The teenager being the first to notice it's better to stay away from them.

    While it's perfectly realistic for adults to act like idiots when it comes to children, here they act like morons even when their lives are at stake. Although it's never made clear just how tiny toddlers manage to do all this mayhem and why the adults can't/won't control them.

    From the get go, I didn't get into this movie. I didn't care to count how many of the crazy kids there are and who their parents are. Creepy kids have never made convincing villains, unless they have supernatural powers. But direction and cinematography are good. Thankfully this movie is filmed entirely during the day. There's a bit of gore. Unfortunately no nudity from the lovely Rachel Shelley or Hannah Tointon. To top it off, the movie never bothers to explain what is going on with the kids, where the condition came from, why it only affects kids, etc. The crew is skilled but they didn't have a good enough script to work with.
  • A very effective indie horror with a very common plot (children turning evil) but take my word The Children is the best in the lot of such kind of movies. I always thought that Joshua was a very bad movie, Orphan was quite good but highly overrated. The only other movie which can compete strongly with The Children in this genre is Home movie (another gem of an indie horror)... The plot is quite simple. Children turning on their parents, but the way its crafted over here is quite praise worthy. The exotic location of the house and the woods adds creepiness to the already chilling atmosphere. The acting is not that good as you expect but the script is quite solid to carry the whole movie on its shoulders. Wholesome entertainment is guaranteed. Do have a watch and yes, only after your children are off to bed.
  • You can read the rest of the reviews for the basic synopsis of this movie (plz ignore the person who turned it OFF after only 30min and then called it garbage) -- I have not been more surprised by a movie I was expecting to suck in a long long long time. I started watching this thinking "oh yay another village of the damned!" and was expecting to laugh the entire movie. NOT QUITE!! The slow burning suspense of this movie is flawless as it sloowwwly makes the audience truly begin fearing these kids and are put in a constant anticipated state, wondering with giddy delight (if your a horror freak like me), or possibly biting ur nails to see what they'll do next.

    Unlike "The Ring" where the stupid damn kid is supposed to be soooo scary and yet she just a dirty little dead girl -- if that girl came out of the television and sloowly started crawling toward me-- Ide kick her in the face and not think twice! LoL ---- But with "The Children" you actually feel the fear because you 100% totally understand why its hard for the parents to injure or kill their kids... or even simply be able to comprehend WTF IS HAPPENING around them -- Love the use of sound and was very impressed by quite a few of the nice camera angles used to enhance the suspense. The kids acting was spot-on perfect -- a lot of creeping standing around and giving creepy looks. A couple hot women in here as well, all excellent acting to fit the roles.

  • Warning: Spoilers
    This movie reminded me of the old 1970's horror films. It's slow moving at first, but once it gets going there is some gore. The horror slowly creeps up.

    The plot is very basic. The children appear to catch some sort of viral infection. The parents don't really take it very seriously at first. But as each child succumbs, they turn into mini serial killers. The surviving adults have a hard time defending themselves as they slowly realize there is only one way to deal with the children.

    I liked the actors and they felt very natural.

    Complaints, well, it was very slow moving at first. And we never got an explanation of what the disease was or where it came from. So there really wasn't much to the plot. And there weren't enough adults, so we didn't get a whole lot of killings.

    The ending is open for a sequel.

    I would recommend the movie, but I think it's more for those of us who prefer older 70's horror.
  • The horror movie usually comes in one of two possible and likely forms. The first blend is the thriller-orientated horror, splashed with lots of loud noises, running around and screaming teenagers. The second -and much more welcome to anyone with half a brain- of the two is the more dramatic kind. This variant is ironically the less frequent, but it too often shows audiences what a real scary movie can do. The Children then is surprisingly something of an oddity in its design and structure in regards to these two common styles. Sandwiched between two very strong acts of characterisation and tense atmospherics, the movie takes a massive dive during its middle act which resorts to the same old clichés that make the genre so unbearable to most. It's also the classic example of a director's talent being wasted on a script that is far below his capabilities, and yet without such an important figure the movie would have fell flat on its face. So while it staggers through the finish line with a limp, The Children is nevertheless a good example of horror done adequately, but nowhere near perfectly.

    Telling the story of a New Years family get together out in a secluded part of the wilderness, The Children is a foreboding change of focus for the genre in that the movie's antagonists are around three foot tall and cry for their mommy. Of course, the premise is undoubtedly hammy on paper; the idea of these children turning sour and attempting to kill their parents is something easily brushed off the shoulder, yet director Tom Shankland does well in convincing us otherwise. Opening the feature with a perfectly paced piece of family drama and characterisation, Shankland introduces us to our characters that we instinctively know at least one of is going to get whacked off. This in turn makes the movie's rather predictable middle act a little more sustainable thanks to the domestic overtone to all the violence and horror, and the result is more likely to have you wince rather than groan. Yet lumbered with such a plodding and tiresome body, The Children too often focuses away from the elements that make it engaging in the first place; neglected to having characters run around alone looking for things, ideas wear thin and the plot disintegrates along with the numerous corpses replacing such characters.

    One thing that really is quite astounding about the movie however lies in the performances, not just in the adults, but of the children themselves. Very rarely is it the case (and primarily so in this genre) that children performers are able to fill their roles without a sense of awkwardness to their presence that too often draws attention to the director's commands. Shankland here makes himself invisible, and manages to get some convincing work out of his young thespians as a result. Sure enough, the script makes sure that this isn't anything new for anyone involved; characters are rudimentary, but the performers do well with what they are given under the direction of Shankland to the point where the movie's horror is accentuated through the character rather than their grief. Combined with the erratic and often disorientating score penned by Stephen Hilton and the derivative but effective photography of Nanu Segal, The Children makes for a convincingly tense movie that makes up for its lacking script with fine aesthetics and implementation.

    As a horror movie, The Children does well, specifically during its opening and closing acts; establishing characters that feel like more than maniac fodder whilst avoiding bringing too much focus on the somewhat shaky premise, and instead shifting towards the atmosphere involved, and the character's reactions to this. As a result, Shankland's movie definitely feels more like a mature and intelligent example of the genre, but is too often undermined by the formulated and mundane middle act that wields a bloodied knife. So while there is something to be appreciated by most audiences who may or may not be attracted to the genre, the restrictive and polarising nature of the clashing styles hurts the movie's integrity and ability to fully satisfy either crowd. Some will find things to enjoy within the excessive violence and cheesy plot, whilst others will gravitate more towards the movie's thick atmosphere, but it's hard to see anyone loving the whole, rather than its greater parts. A fair effort from Shankland, but as much good as he does with his cumbersome script, it is that which is his ultimate undoing here.

    6/10 - A review by Jamie Robert Ward (
  • parry_na24 November 2018
    Warning: Spoilers
    Twits will insist on breeding, won't they? Back in the 1980s, the adults represented here would have been known as Yuppies, young and upwardly mobile characters who do terribly well in business. This allegedly successful bent is balanced by possessing personalities smug and self-serving coupled with an inability to cope with the challenges of raising their young. I don't wish to enter into the debate of child discipline too strongly, but "We don't smack children here," is the mantra extolled by the adults and possibly this stretches to "we don't discipline children at all." The reason I say this is that most of the youngsters are brattish, and whenever they misbehave, their behaviour is met with an 'understanding' gaze and a "What's the matter, sweetheart?" line of soothing questions. When the children's behaviour deteriorates further and they actually start killing people, the remaining parents are still trying to empathise with them, which leaves this viewer wondering who is more deserving of a slap?

    Anyway, with that out of the way, what we have here is a New Year's Eve smug-off celebration where two attractive young families can outwardly hug and adore each other, while privately slate each other for lack of business acumen. The idyllic surroundings are spoiled when the children seem to become possessed and start killing the hapless adults. It is never explained why this happens.

    Most brattish of all is sexy teen strop artist Casey (Hannah Tointon), who emerges as the true hero of the piece, having been wrongly accused of all sorts by the idiotic adults. The mix of their stupidity and her precocious, inappropriately flirtatious manner doesn't help anyone, but she displays sense and a stoical attitude whilst all about her are whimpering and floundering.

    In many slasher-type films, we find ourselves willing for the death of the alleged 'good guys', but such a (surely) deliberate decision to make the parents this stupid is an interesting expansion of reasons for dislike. And whilst the children never quite become the threat we are supposed to think they are, their looks of angelic distraction works well in a creepy kind of way - as does the revelation of yet more juveniles scattered throughout the unforgiving snow and frosty woodlands.

    Where things don't work quite as well is in the kids' physical power. Possibly more time and money would have been needed to successfully make them more formidable and whilst the effects here are good, they rarely quite convince, often making the adults suffering at their hands even more inept. With a heightening of the actual brutality, this would have been more successful. What he have is a well-made thriller with good performances and as such, is worth seeing.
  • I wasn't expecting that much from this movie, because it all just seemed very familiar. Evil children turning on their parents who are too dumb to notice anything's wrong until it's too late, there are at least a dozen movies like that. Combine that with an incredibly uninspired title and you get a movie that just sits on my shelf for years.

    Unjustly, because as unoriginal and predictable this movie's also really freightening! The scary atmosphere is done really well, and it helps that you don't actually see the children kill for the first two acts. It's all in the power of suggestion, and in the feeling of dread you get from every scene. The child actors are also great, their blank, unemotional stares send shivers down my spine. The plot follows the creepy kid formula beat by beat, but it's not a problem. Just take the obligatory first kill, the one that always looks like it's an accident. That scene is executed perfectly, really unnerving. The movie never really drops the ball from then on.

    There's nothing ground-breaking about "The Children", there's not even anything interesting to the plot. It's very much style over substance, but the style is great and that's enough for me to recommend it.
  • I see a lot of people liked this flick but I'm really not sure why. I didn't hate it, I won't go that far but this movie just didn't seem very believable to me, too many dumb or just plain weird actions or reactions from the main characters that left me sneering and halfway chuckling sometimes when I was supposed to be frightened (I guess). The acting wasn't a problem although Hannah Tointon had a shocked and appalled look on her face for half the film which was kinda annoying but I'll give her a break since she was being hunted by toddlers for her pelt. Anyway I didn't think it was awful but I probably won't watch it again, just one man's opinion though so maybe u will feel differently.
  • jimmyiowa14 March 2010
    Warning: Spoilers
    I'm fairly easy to please with horror movies. I don't ask for artistic perfection, just some passable entertainment. If I laugh instead of flinch, then okay, that's entertainment too. But this movie made me do neither.

    First off, it was quite slow. What I suppose was intended to be suspenseful build up was simply 30 minutes of directionless boredom waiting for a plot to become apparent. Then even once the action got started, there was still parts that simply seemed to be time filler.

    Several of the violence scenes are pure chaos. Essentially just wild shaking camera movement, with some flashes of objects being knocked over, a few flash frame close-ups of someone's eyeball, or a twirling lawn ornament, and then when the camera shaking stops....someone is hurt or dead. Hmmm, okay.

    But the most irritating aspect throughout the entire movie was that the parent's actions and reactions rarely make much sense at all. Like your daughter just clawed someone's face bloody at the dinner table - so then the mothers sit having some calm discussion while the little girl is heard upstairs screaming? Or your 5yo daughter is in a tent with a huge trail of blood leading up to it - so you stop and think a while, then sloooowly tip toe up to the tent and pause and look around before bothering to look in at your daughter? This movie is filled with utterly implausible character reactions to the violence going on around them.
  • A relaxing Christmas vacation turns into a terrifying fight for survival as the children begin to turn on their parents. Ooooooh! Scarrry! Well, that's what you might think at first, but you'll suddenly regret saying that when you've watched the film. Seriously. In fact, your expectations for this film will be out of the radar when you find yourself jolting off of your seat, covering your eyes, and screaming profanity for all to hear!

    That happened to me. I NEVER curse. Actually, I rarely curse. I've only cursed about five times in my whole short life. To see that I cursed out about ten words under my breath through the film is just AMAZING! This is not because characters are stupid, although some of them are. It's because the movie is basically a taboo. You see kids holding knives, kids killing people, parents killing kids, etc! It's a movie filled with what society taught us not to do!

    And don't get me started on the tension. The film has some of the best build-ups in a WHILE. In fact, the very first "attack," we'll call it, is edited so well your heart gets racing a minute before the attacking starts! I must say, that's an incredible feat! And who would've thought kids are creepy? The amount of violence in here is also surprisingly high and I say that as a complement.

    For a movie based around killer kids, you must have good, no, great, young actors to take these parts. You shan't be afraid. The kids in here are fantastic. The one that stuck out the most was Raffiella Brooks, an Amy Smart look-a-like, and probably the best acted kid in the group. The older people are also very good here.

    Overall, it's a big surprise, of course. Just when you think your expectations are right, they get punched down one by one every minute that you watch this film. The film is genuinely creepy and has some great, nail-biting tension. However, it's ultimately forgettable the second the credits role. Still, it's a nice way to spend 80 minutes of your life.
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