Kids will always be creepy. Be it their angelic voices saying twisted things or their ability to be places they shouldn’t be: they will always strike fear if they are involved in horror. Creating a village full of creepy, psychotic children was always going to be a good recipe for horror and works really well here… even if it is on the cheesy side.
The idea is a great one and very well executed. A town of fairly recognisable, if somewhat less than A-List stars, make up a small idyllic village which is then mysteriously struck by a weird fog which leaves them all unconscious. The result is a mysterious pregnancy of the woman and then the births of strange, creepy, white haired children with strange powers. It is a plot which is as silly at it sounds but works because it is played straight throughout.
To achieve this they have iconic actors playing it slightly over the top. Superman Christopher Reeves is our hero, Crocodile Dundee’s wife Linda Kozlowski is the heroine while Kirstie Ally plays the Government representative who clearly can’t be trusted. Add Mark Hamill to the mix and you have a cast of stars who are having a lot of fun and seem to be taking things far too seriously.
You won’t get many smiles from the children either. The children are perfectly creepy, led by a brilliantly mature and cold Lindsey Haun who steals the film from the well-established stars. The horror comes from their actions, mainly their ability to read minds and then cause people to hurt or kill themselves. Some of this is done brilliantly, particularly one character boiling her own hand at the command of a toddler.
The film can never get away from how silly the premise is though and at times it all feels slightly too camp. Director John Carpenter is of course a great choice for this kind of movie, being a dab-hand with horror but also knowing how to play-up the chills and the B-movie feel which this has in spades. It means that the film and it’s story are well-executed with impressive effects for the time but often becomes slightly too silly and campy for a pure horror movie.
This never stops the film being compelling and plenty of fun though. You’ll never be bored and the central idea, with a very good resolution to the whole plot, is the making of a classic horror idea and subsequent movie.
Overall, Village of the Damned is a well-executed horror movie with a great central idea. It has brilliantly creepy kids and some cool set-pieces. Add a recognisable cast and you have a very effective, if somewhat silly and campy classic horror movie.
Rating – 4
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