A few nice shots here and there, one strong lead performance and a handful of instances of gore simply cannot elevate it, making it a chore to sit through.
BY BECCA JOHNSON MARCH 24, 2023
Children of the Corn is a well-known franchise amongst horror fans, though not for the right reasons. With 10 movies coming before this one, none of which very highly commended, no-one went into the 2020 edition with high hopes – especially after it sat on the shelf for three years. Based on renowned horror author Stephen King's short story, Children of the Corn follows a psychopathic twelve year old girl living in a small town in Nebraska, who recruits all the other children to go on a bloody rampage killing all the corrupt adults. Was the 11th movie in the franchise worth the shot, or is it the same as all the rest?
Stephen King has provided an intriguing premise that is particularly unique and incredibly dark. Many of his ideas have made their way to the big screen, which whether you're keen to admit it or not, spark some interest every time. However, the way the plot of this one plays out is utterly nonsensical and lacklustre. To start, it takes itself far too seriously, with cringeworthy dialogue that's not reminiscent of how kids actually speak to one another. The lines, along with their delivery, are poor and occasionally laughable. It's up to the viewer to decide whether the dialogue is so bad it's good, or just plain bad. There's far too many plot holes, and they're really obvious, which ends up lowering the stakes and stopping us from caring about the outcome. Once it gets to the final act, it becomes so clear how things will play out that it's hard not to mentally check out of the story. You may spend a large amount of the 93 minute runtime thinking, 'that doesn't make any sense'. Unfortunately, the short 93 minutes drag – taking too long to get going.
Children of the Corn is definitely a horror movie, but the horror elements here feel a little forced in. There's one or two jump scares that undeniably work and definitely make you jump, but they're almost too unexpected and don't fit in with the scenes they're placed in. Some of the adults death scenes are pretty gnarly, which provides some entertainment, as it isn't afraid to get gory once or twice. This is quickly ruined, however, by the very poor CGI and comic-like blood splatters. The entire movie alludes to 'He who walks behind the rows', an entity that may be possessing the children. When he is revealed, the horror doesn't increase, it does the opposite. Thanks to the terrible CGI and creature design, he is ridiculously un-scary and not worth the wait.
Of course, due to the premise, the cast of Children of the Corn is largely made up of children. The performances are a mixed bag, but the girl playing antagonist Eden Edwards is pretty good. Despite the material given being poor, she tries her best with it and is incredibly sinister throughout the movie. Her character is utterly despicable and she plays it well, showing some talent. Elena Kampouris plays our lead Boleyn Williams, and despite a few instances of over-acting, she is good enough to follow. The adults of course don't get a great deal to do, but their characters are written so badly that the performances are hard to get behind.
The setting is fun, the premise is interesting and the cast of kids really do try their best. However, the script of our latest Children of the Corn is just plain bad. A few nice shots here and there, one strong lead performance and a handful of instances of gore simply cannot elevate it, making it a chore to sit through. The plot plays out in a nonsensical manner with too many holes and cliches, the dialogue is laughable and the bad visuals takes away any horror being attempted. It's time to leave this franchise alone.