Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Children of the Corn 2009
Director: Donald P. Borchers
Writers: Donald P. Borchers and Stephen King
Starring David Anders, Kandyse McClure, Daniel Newman, Preston Bailey and Alexa Nikolas
I am a big fan of the original 1984 film, but I am a even bigger fan of the short story that the film was based on. The story is one of King's most grimmest and bleakest stories and definitely not a story that is for everyone. I think that is why I enjoy it so much, it pulls no punches and refuses to wrap up things in a nice and happy package. The film has the imagery I always imagined when I first read the story. Another thing that is great and very timely about this story is how it touches upon religious zealotry at it's most extreme. I T does not paint a pretty picture about religion and some of it's cultish figureheads. Me being a atheist I really felt and appreciated what the film had to say.
The plot basics are this, a traveling married couple, Burt (Anders) and Vicki (McClure) are on the verge of a divorce and are continuously arguing. While they are in a heated argument, Burt takes his eyes away from the road and hits a young boy who comes running out of the cornfield. They go to check on the kid and upon closer inspection they see that his throat was cut. They pick him up and put him in the trunk and look for some local law enforcement to report this crime. They are able to find nothing and then they enter the small town of Gatlin and find nothing. Burt goes to check a church while Vicki waits in the car, when a group of children led by what appears to be a cult leader (Bailey) and he urges his flock to attack her. Burt arrives too late and is now being chased by the children and he runs into the corn as they lead chase and he tires to outwit the kids while fighting off Vietnam flashbacks.
This was a tense and solid horror film. Borcher's direction is very tight, with many tense claustrophobic scenes. It is also great how he uses atmosphere rather than showing "He Who Walks Behind the Rows". The script is very good too, the characters of Burt and Vicki are pretty hateful and you really do not have much sympathy for them and that was the way it felt in the short story too. The cast is good, Anders and McClure really relish their roles as hateful partners who cannot wait to be rid of each other and you can see they would not mind seeing each other dead. I also loved the scene where Anders goes all Rambo on the kids, nice to see they did not sugar coat that. Bailey and Newman are very good as Isaac and Malachai but they are too overshadowed by the overacting of John Franklin and Courtney Gains in the 1984 version. They are just too hard to top. The SFX is quite good, especially the boy who gets killed in the beginning and the bodies that are crucified. This film did a lot of things better than the original. The spirit of the story is intact and the imagery that is in the story is here for all to see in it's bleakness. It also does a great job of denouncing religious idolatry and zealotry, without being too heavy handed. It is also great how you never know for sure if the kids killed them or there actually was a god they have to appease too. The major complaint I have with this version is that the chase scenes in the cornfield is way too padded. If you are a fan of King's work and want to see a very faithful adaptation seek this one out.
This one gets 4 out of 5