Elaine and Jonah and their teenage daughter and young son and daughter, come to spend New Year with her sister Chloe and husband Robbie and their two young children at their isolated country home. One by one the children, after apparently being sick, become increasingly malevolent. Written by
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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
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