The initial concept for Children of the Corn is a great one. The idea of a cult of children, killing anyone over the age of 18, is one with a fair amount of potential and in the beginning that potential is met. The opening is chilling and sets the scenes for what could be a great horror movie.
All the ingredients are there; creepy children, a malevolent spirit, a deserted ghost town and a young couple caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. The fact that one of this couple is Linda Hamilton also helps, as she plays the scream queen ably. The real stars are the children themselves and more so than others is John Franklin as Issac, who leads the children on their killing spree and orchestrates the whole cult idea.
There are some great elements sewn into the movie about the cult and folklore they are following. The sacrificing of children as they reach the age of 18 and the way that adults are lured to the small town all make for some great moments but these come few and far between in a movie desperate to be more of a slow-building mystery.
There is a mystery at the centre, involving a “creature” that haunts the corn fields and terrorises anyone who tries to escape or wanders too close. It is an intriguing aspect but in trying to drip feed the events and the details of the cult, the film moves at a snail pace and after the great, compelling opening, struggles to maintain its momentum.
It also suffers from the fact that the reveal of the mystery, and the answer to the corn monster, are all very unsatisfying. The movie builds to a potentially frightening and tense climax but what it becomes is something altogether much sillier. It works well to develop tension but loses it for a supernatural third act which has aged badly.
Overall, Children of the Corn had the potential to be something very scary and creepy. Moments are chilling and the titular children do a very good job. The movie moves at a snail’s pace though and suffers from a silly anti-climactic ending that doesn’t deliver on the promise that came before.
Rating – 2.5
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