Vietnam War vet Stephen Simmons must deal with a war of a different sort between his son and their friends, and a rival group of children. He also must deal with his own personal and ... See full summary »
Following his mother's death, Mark is sent to Maine to visit his aunt and uncle while his father goes on a business trip to Tokyo. Mark meets his cousin, Henry, and the two quickly form a friendship. However, Henry begins to show signs of violent behavior that worry Mark.Written by
The name Henry actually means "ruler of the home". This is very fitting for the film's antagonist, as Henry is very controlling and manipulative of his family. See more »
When Henry is kicking Mark at the dinner table, Mark's right hand moves between shots. See more »
[Mark plays soccer with his teammates as they cheer Mark's name]
Get the ball!
Pass it to me!
Shoot it! Hit it in! Hit it in!
[Mark scores the goal]
Good goal! Good game.
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The 1995 UK video version was cut by 33 secs by the BBFC to edit shots of 2 young boys dropping a lifelike human dummy into a stream of traffic to cause a motorway pile-up, as this was considered a dangerous imitable technique. The cuts were waived for the 2002 version. See more »
In many ways this is just a standard thriller. How I loathe the word "thriller". It suggests roller-coasters; and the genre it denotes, at its best, deals in quiet tension. Where was I? Yes: standard thriller. A is really an evil person, intent on performing great harm in the future; B knows this but can't convince anyone else. I heard that sigh. But make A and B children, on the verge of adolescence, and not only is this tired formula invigorated, but it makes a great deal more sense. (Especially if B is in the slightly awkward position of a cousin on an extended visit.) The creaky old scenes where B goes to the police and either he is strangely incoherent or the police are strangely obtuse, are gone. There is now a perfectly good reason why B can't go to the police, or indeed anyone. Nor is there anything strange about the obtuseness of A's parents. The rotten adult seems so commonplace that we scarcely bat an eyelid; the rotten child, who is in fact far more commonplace, we like to pretend doesn't exist.
So I'm glad Hollywood took this step. I also, for the most part, like the way the step has been taken. B has no accomplices - he must battle A alone - and his plight is keenly felt. There's an air of plausibility about it all. Elijah Wood is an unusually good boy, Macaulay Culkin is an unusually bad boy; both look perfectly real. (Wood, who has the harder task, does especially well.)
The climax - or what is meant to be the climax - is HIGHLY contrived. It will probably come as a shock that the writers chose something at once so obvious and so ludicrous. The mood of the audience I saw this with - it may just have been my mood - was one of grudging acceptance, granted only because we had been treated so well in the events leading up to it.
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