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Did you ever hear of contraception?
hitchcockthelegend20 March 2012
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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A Family Christmas to Remember
ukkid3529 November 2008
One of the most effective aspects of this movie is the way the tension builds inexorably. From the moment you see the children there is an impending sense of doom. The children themselves are both brilliantly cast and wonderfully realistic, by which I mean that their behaviour is easily recognisable as the normal behaviour of manipulative and moody kids, until it spills over to the purely demonic.

The rest of the cast who, apart from Stephen Campbell Moore, I didn't recognise, all portrayed characters who were very believable, even if not entirely sympathetic. After all, how can you sympathise with smug middle class parents discussing homeschooling now that they've sold the business? The adults were in fact wonderfully flawed, matched in spades by Casey, who enters the movie as the least sympathetic character: selfish, self absorbed, and distant in the way that only a sixteen year old can be. However, Casey is arguably the real hero.

The script skillfully presents the tip of the iceberg, suggesting and hinting at the unseen part of the characters' lives, never spelling everything out, but crediting the audience with the wit to work some things out for themselves. The horror cliché of characters doing stupid or unrealistic things that annoy the audience was always avoided, as was the use of the dark. Instead the action takes place against a white Christmas backdrop, which sadly reminded me a little of Reny Harlin's 'snow' bound Die Hard 2, but even so the blood on snow motif was very effective.

Tom Shankland's script, and in particular the dialogue, was very convincing, but he is also a highly visual director. According to my girlfriend the Miss Marple he helmed is quite beautifully photographed, and I really liked the atmosphere and visuals in WAZ. The Children also has the same stunning images, which along with the very powerful soundtrack, conjure a mood of foreboding and dread. If you appreciate horror movies with tension and beauty as well as a succession of wince- inducing set pieces, then this is a film for you.
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Kids Go Wild In The Country
gary-44412 December 2008
A worthy British Horror film that delivers, despite a low budget. The twist is the use of children both as the perpetrators, and victims, of killing. Largely a cinematic taboo. Director Tom Shankland ekes the maximum value out of a single setting, and small cast, wringing every ounce out of an interesting idea.

Two related smug middle class couples spend the new year in the English Countryside with their children when something makes "good children go bad". The rustling trees and undergrowth are very reminiscent of the Happening. The malevolent children reprising themes from "The Omen", "The Brood" and "Village of the Damned". Shankland creates some genuinely scary scenes as the children turn on their bewildered parents. But insufficient prior characterisation means that the viewer tends to be more irritated by the adults poor decision making, than be sympathetic to their plight. The gratuitous "blonde in underwear" shot shows that Shankland understands the demands of the genre well! A generally pacey 84 minute story has expired as the film draws to its close, but the final shot is still pretty chilling, is a fitting coda, and offers the opportunity of a sequel. The fact that what has happened is not explained is a bonus, rather than a source of frustration, and the blood and gore, particularly as it is delivered by children, stretches the 15 certification to its limits.

Sufficiently off beat, both in terms of location and content, to satisfy the Horror crowd, and potentially a minor Cult classic.
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Wonderful Stuff.
Scunner31 March 2009
Horrid smug Middle class parents get killed by and kill their own children, what could be better? Who could not enjoy this? Well, other than 15 year olds who can't appreciate a horror film with *shock horror* time spent on genuine character development, a decent script and people behaving in a believable manner when confronted and confused by the horror they're confronted with.

The Children is great because it's a rare oasis in the desert of generic (mainly US) horror, these are parents who understandably find it difficult to accept their own children have become killers and are obviously not too enamoured with the idea of killing their own offspring (which explains to certain 15 year old fools why the adults are so easily overcome). There are no generic idiot teens walking into danger for no discernible reason, in fact the one teen Casey (played excellently by Hannah Tointon) is the strongest character in the film.

This is the best Horror film I've seen in quite a while...if it doesn't appeal to teenage horror much the better.
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Eerie, and tension packed. An impressive movie.
kevin_crighton9 December 2008
Two families gather at a remote house for a Christmas and new year holiday. However, the young children affected by something in the woods, begin to turn on the adults.

I have to say, this movie was a welcome surprise. Written and directed by Tom Shankland (who made WAZ), and based on a story from Paul Andrew Williams (who made the recent horror The Cottage), The Children is a very well made movie.

One of the main reasons I enjoyed it was that it never explains why the children are doing what they are doing. It's suggested there is something in the woods to blame, but it is never fully explained. In a way this is similar to The Ruins, or even Rec and I liked that. Too many movies try to explain what is going on, but the better horror movies leave it open and I think this approach works better, as it does here.

The cast are all pretty good, with special mention given to Eva Sayer as one of the children, and Hannah Tointon as Casey the only teen in the group.

One of the clever things about this movie, and there are many things to like about it,is how the adults react as events get out of control. To begin with they are nice and friendly couples (the two women being sisters), but as the movie progresses, they turn on themselves as they refuse to accept what is happening. Of course by the time they do realise what is going on, it's much too late!

The movie is rated 15 in the UK, and does keep most of the violence off-screen, but it is creepy through-out, and Shankland keeps the tension and unease high, even when nothing has happened yet. And he stages some some impressive scenes, especially the first adult attack, involving a sledge, a trolley, with sharp items on it. It could almost come from a Final Destination movie!

And to top of everything, there is the ending. While not a truly bleak ending (although some may see it that way), it's a very, very creepy ending, and one I really didn't expect.

As horror movies go for this year, this is one of the best I've seen.
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Very strong directing ruined by very weak script
The_Dead_See5 December 2009
After so many good reviews I was pretty psyched to see The Children. Several times I'd seen it put on a par with "Eden Lake", which I thought was one of the most tense, horrifying, well-conceived horrors of recent times.

I must say it started out really promising. It looked like it was paying close attention to building atmosphere and establishing characters - which is a rarity these days. It was quiet and disturbing for the first half hour, not to mention beautifully shot. I was settling in nicely, absorbed into the character's little Christmas get-together, and pleasantly anticipating the start of the horror.

But then it really went off the rails fast. There was a sudden rapid-fire sequence of ill-conceived, unbelievable, almost "Rube-Goldbergian" death and injury scenes, followed by a bunch of hysterical characters who - if they weren't doing something downright stupid and frustrating - were instead doing something that just didn't make any sense.

I spent a good deal of the last half of the film turning to my significant other and saying "I don't get why that character just did that..." The characters motivations for even the simplest actions through the last half of the film seem so weak as to almost be alien. In fact, the evil "possessed" children were acting in a more understandable way than the apparently normal adults.

You can't excuse the way the adults in the film act by simply believing they are operating under extreme circumstances the way you can in movies like "Eden Lake". But you can explain it by shoddy, lazy writing. Most of the movies I've seen in recent weeks had okay screenplays but floundered on bad directing. This was the exact opposite - beautiful directing ruined by a really weak script.

Dangit I'd hoped this would be a good one. Oh well, onto the next...
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Their kids will be the death of them.
BA_Harrison7 April 2010
The Good Son, Devil Times Five, Bloody Birthday, Children of the Corn, Who Could Kill A Child?, Wicked Little Things, Village of the Damned, The Bad Seed, The Omen II: there are many films that have presented kids as malevolent killers, but the really effective 'scary children' movies can easily be counted on the fingers of one hand and The Children is not one of them.

Although the brats in this film are undoubtedly wicked, casually offing their parents with a variety of sharp implements, they lack the genuine sense of menace essential for a really effective 'evil child' shocker, their diminutive stature and unconvincing blank stares unlikely to send a shiver up the spine of even the most timid of movie-goers. The adults in the film do their best to convince us otherwise, looking absolutely terrified when confronted by a three foot tall moppet and screaming their lungs out at every available opportunity, but all the histrionics in the world ain't going to turn these tiny tykes into the bogeyman.

Furthermore, the film suffers from editing that is more far more diabolical than any of its murderous children, making certain scenes virtually impossible to follow, and the script is hampered by both contrivance and ambiguity: I'm not one of those people that needs everything spelt out for me to enjoy a movie, but The Children's lack of exposition feels suspiciously like a cop-out—as though the writers just couldn't be bothered to come up with a convincing reason for the kids' startling behaviour.

I appreciate the fact that director Tom Shankland (who was also responsible for the disappointing WAZ) doesn't shy away from depicting the violence in graphic detail, particularly when the grown-ups start to fight back (showing a kiddy meeting a grisly fate is still considered a step too far by many); and I appreciate even more that hot Hollyoaks babe Hannah Tointon gets to prance around for the whole film in an insanely short mini-skirt and over-the-knee stockings (and her mum ain't bad either); but even those elements do not come close to compensating for the film's crappier qualities.

Quite how The Children has garnered so many positive comments and an average rating of 6.4 here on IMDb is beyond me, but I'm giving it a scathing review and a score of 2/10 in order to try and redress the balance.
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svader18 July 2020
Not horrific. Not shocking. Zero thrills. Very slow. Terrible acting. Nonsense story. Just bad all round and annoying screaming imps.
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A parent's worse nightmare...
Siamois9 April 2009
The premise of this movie is indeed real, primal horror. During the holidays, a family reunion turns into a madness when children become increasingly disturbed, due to what looks like a mysterious illness.

"Creepy kids" have been done a number of times in cinema but what separates this latest entry from many that came before it is the feeling that these kids are still kids. Certainly disturbed and not totally themselves but not entirely evil. Cruel but not zombies, mind controlled or aliens. There is still fear and fragility, which makes them a lot scarier for viewers, especially parents.

Adding to the horror is that when the parents stand up for themselves against the kids, these acts of resistance are "unsatisfying" to us, unlike other movies of the genre. That is, you do remain conflicted as a viewer instead of the typical Hollywood trash. And *that* is what horror is about.

The story is good, well-paced with a suitably tensed escalation of the menace the children represent. The characters coping with this threat (a group of adults and a teenager) are believable instead of walking clichés.

On the downside, the movie has a definite low-budget feel to it. I was surprised that Tom Shankland would direct something like this after his previous work, the polished horror/thriller Waz. A low budget plus a lot of kid actors mean that corners were cut. The film would certainly have benefited from more takes. A lot more takes, in fact. The adult actors are underwhelming and the script could have used another pass or two to make it more compelling from start to end. There are still two or three very memorable sequences in the movie, such as the one following the first body's disappearance. But overall I think Shankland will cringe at a lot of scenes here. For instance, one character spends some great deal of time with a serious injury but the result on camera is completely unbelievable.

So what we are left with is an indie movie with a lot of heart and that does a lot of things well. It is extremely courageous in its treatment. It offers something good and refreshing. And it could have been a masterpiece with slightly more budget. I'm giving this a well-deserved 6.

As a complement to this film and to see the "other side of the coin", I strongly suggest watching Lars E. Jacobson's "Baby Blues" immediately before or after "The Children".
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Boring and uneventful
saraccan19 August 2018
Just a very boring and uneventful movie. It's one those movies that keeps making you say "seriously?!" every 5 minutes for the ridiculous actions of the characters.

A group of friends and their kids go to a cabin in the woods for christmas holiday but then the kids go crazy for some reason and start killing the adults. It actually sounds promising if weird kids creep you out but its executed terribly.
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Methinks not!
cooltorri26 March 2020
This movie was extremely annoying. If you're into loads of screaming, a poor plot, and plenty examples of bad parenting, then this is the movie for you. Not at all to my taste.
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The Real Review
ChrisMichael812 April 2009
Being a Horror Film person I have seen them all and was not expecting much from the trash that is flushed out to us. But I'm pleased to tell you that this movie was a nice surprise. The plot was basic, the characters were believable, and the movie had a nice pace. To most the premise itself seems to have been done before but No it has not the way that this film does it. All is revealed in this film and the cause is actually believable. I would highly recommend this film to anyone that enjoys horror films. The people that got on to give this one a low score obviously know nothing about the genre and need to go rate movies like High school musical or Paul Blart the Mall Cop. Official Chickencow post unaffiliated with any Film Company
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Nicely filmed but the kids are annoying and the script is lazy
TdSmth528 April 2013
A family goes to visit the wife's sister during Christmas season out in the woods. Together both families have a bunch of kids and one wise teenager. One of the fathers tries to convince the other to get into business with him selling alternative medicine. The kids are annoying to say the least. Eventually one by one the kids get start coughing and we are led to believe that there's some bug going around- a bug that makes the kids go nuts. And once crazy, the kids are even more insufferable. But they also become murderous- the cat disappears, one dad ends up with his head bashed in, one mom ends up with a broken leg. It's only then when some of the adults realize that something isn't right with the Children. The teenager being the first to notice it's better to stay away from them.

While it's perfectly realistic for adults to act like idiots when it comes to children, here they act like morons even when their lives are at stake. Although it's never made clear just how tiny toddlers manage to do all this mayhem and why the adults can't/won't control them.

From the get go, I didn't get into this movie. I didn't care to count how many of the crazy kids there are and who their parents are. Creepy kids have never made convincing villains, unless they have supernatural powers. But direction and cinematography are good. Thankfully this movie is filmed entirely during the day. There's a bit of gore. Unfortunately no nudity from the lovely Rachel Shelley or Hannah Tointon. To top it off, the movie never bothers to explain what is going on with the kids, where the condition came from, why it only affects kids, etc. The crew is skilled but they didn't have a good enough script to work with.
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Is this what having kids is like?
jmbovan-47-16017326 July 2020
The first 15 minutes set me on edge, the absentminded parenting, the whining annoyance of kids left run amok. Then the supposed weirdness starts. There are so many problematic elements of the adult functioning that watching this movie was difficult simply from these stupid choices, disbelief, and myopic perspectives. The movie does build well with the relentless creepiness of the children, but the mix bag of a movie left me uncertain about my enjoyment of it. Moments of feeling scared countered by frustration with the stupidity of the characters. The adolescent (or college aged) daughter was the only one able to see what was happening and make an choice that was sensible for the crazy situation.
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Gore and Tense, but Something Is Missing to Be a Great Horror Film
claudio_carvalho22 September 2016
Elaine (Eva Birthistle), her second husband husband Jonah (Stephen Campbell Moore), her teenage daughter Casey (Hannah Tointon) and her children Miranda (Eva Sayer) and Paulie (William Howes) travel to the isolated house of her sister Chloe (Rachel Shelley) to spend the New Year with her family. They are welcomed by Chloe, her husband Robbie (Jeremy Sheffield) and their children Nicky (Jake Hathaway) and Leah (Rafiella Brooks). Casey is upset since she will miss a party and Paulie vomits, but his parents believe he is sick because of the travel. During the night, Nicky and Leah become also sick and Leah vomits something strange. Along the day, the other children become also infected and Miranda attacks Chloe. Robbie brings the other children to play in the snow and while riding in a sledge, Nicky puts some tools in the way and Robbie dies with the impact on his head. Soon the children attack the adults and Casey and her mother seeks shelter. Will someone survive?

"The Children" is a gore horror film with a story that does not explain why only the children are affected by some mysterious virus that make them violent against adults. The plot is tense but gives the sensation that something is missing to make "The Children" a great horror movie. The open conclusion makes the viewer wondering whether Casey is also infected or not. My vote is five.

Title (Brazil): Not Available
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Boring and Noisy
KillerRomance22 July 2020
Middle class families (who don't really like one another) and their children go on a New Year's break in a Tudor style holiday home mansion until few of the children caught some sort of virus that turns them into killers.

The plot is there is not one, everyone disappears in this movie, including the Cat who hissed at the infected and never seen again but you see a cat collar hanging in the children's tent. Is there a character I cared for or had a kinship with? Not really, the adults and children annoy me, and all are noisy rouges. I started to get the feeling the feline had a nervous breakdown and ran away so I felt sorry for her; the cat is the only one I cared about. The movie wasn't scary at all because there was no atmospheric nature nor intensity, no build up. The children won't keep their trap shut for being frolic either. I started jumping scene to scene at the juicy parts after half an hour. There was one gory pitchfork scene outside in the snow as adults gawk and don't do anything as children do that high pitched ear piercing screaming and one character who is one of the Fathers walking out in the calm fashion calling out "what is going on over there?" Like his car won't start as everyone cried out bloody murder. The actors never gave better reactions, every scene was unconvincing and unengaging. It was like a TV movie trying to be the Shining and the Omen rolled in one. I could not tolerate the pacing of this movie, the movie makers didn't know where they were going and how the virus started. It just did. It's a pity because Britain can make good movies like 28 days later and Dog Soldiers but this movie was not up to stratch. Didn't like it. Sorry.
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You brought them into this world. Now ... They will take you out.
moviewizguy13 April 2009
A relaxing Christmas vacation turns into a terrifying fight for survival as the children begin to turn on their parents. Ooooooh! Scarrry! Well, that's what you might think at first, but you'll suddenly regret saying that when you've watched the film. Seriously. In fact, your expectations for this film will be out of the radar when you find yourself jolting off of your seat, covering your eyes, and screaming profanity for all to hear!

That happened to me. I NEVER curse. Actually, I rarely curse. I've only cursed about five times in my whole short life. To see that I cursed out about ten words under my breath through the film is just AMAZING! This is not because characters are stupid, although some of them are. It's because the movie is basically a taboo. You see kids holding knives, kids killing people, parents killing kids, etc! It's a movie filled with what society taught us not to do!

And don't get me started on the tension. The film has some of the best build-ups in a WHILE. In fact, the very first "attack," we'll call it, is edited so well your heart gets racing a minute before the attacking starts! I must say, that's an incredible feat! And who would've thought kids are creepy? The amount of violence in here is also surprisingly high and I say that as a complement.

For a movie based around killer kids, you must have good, no, great, young actors to take these parts. You shan't be afraid. The kids in here are fantastic. The one that stuck out the most was Raffiella Brooks, an Amy Smart look-a-like, and probably the best acted kid in the group. The older people are also very good here.

Overall, it's a big surprise, of course. Just when you think your expectations are right, they get punched down one by one every minute that you watch this film. The film is genuinely creepy and has some great, nail-biting tension. However, it's ultimately forgettable the second the credits role. Still, it's a nice way to spend 80 minutes of your life.
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Came close to Who Can Kill a Child?
Fella_shibby25 March 2020
This film was on my radar for a long time. Finally saw this few days back. This falls into the category of 'evil children' n this one came very close to one of my fav 'Who Can Kill a Child?' Tom Shankland's direction is top notch but I dont kno y he never did more films. His WdeltaZ was decent. The film has some very brutal n disturbing attack scenes. In fact, one thing I find very disturbing is any harm shown toward kids n this film has plenty of it that I turned my head away. The whole time I was trying to recollect wher I have seen the hot babe Rachel Shelley. Later aft reading I realised that she has acted in my fav oscar nominated Bollywood film Lagaan. Watch out for the scalp n the eye scene.
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Finally, a decent horror film
Leofwine_draca25 April 2012
I really enjoyed this efficient, small-scale British horror film that posits an unnerving question: what if all the kids in the world suddenly became psychopathic killers? Of course, evil children have long been a staple in cinema ever since THE BAD SEED – we've had VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED and its spin-offs, along with more obscure fare like THE CHILDREN OF RAVENSBACK. Here, the idea is given a fresh revamp by director Tom Shankland, whose previous background is in TV drama. And he does a fine job.

The isolated setting for this movie – a remote farmhouse in winter – is a good one, making for an effective 'siege' style background to the ensuing events. The scare scenes are subtle and unnerving for the most part; capturing an unusual look on a child's face, or exploring a moment of sudden, unprovoked violence, or a stare that goes on a moment too long. Of course, after a time things become rather more bloody, but the movie retains a level of restraint throughout that makes the impact all the more forceful.

The small cast give some compelling performances, not least Stephen Campbell Moore, who's something of a chameleon when it comes to his acting. Hannah Tointon, the extremely attractive younger sister of a former EASTENDERS star, is the nominal lead and makes a great job of it. Of course, the actors playing the kids are all very good too: understated and creepy all the way through.

It goes without saying that much of the film is familiar – there are only so many ways of shooting a death scene, and they've all been covered a million times before – but nevertheless it has a fresh feel to it. It doesn't need to rely on bloodshed for effect, either, as for once the scare scenes really work. THE CHILDREN is a decent, low budget horror film and in an era when not too many of them are coming out, we should praise it for what it does.
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Creepy and unsettling
Sandcooler19 June 2016
I wasn't expecting that much from this movie, because it all just seemed very familiar. Evil children turning on their parents who are too dumb to notice anything's wrong until it's too late, there are at least a dozen movies like that. Combine that with an incredibly uninspired title and you get a movie that just sits on my shelf for years.

Unjustly, because as unoriginal and predictable this movie's also really freightening! The scary atmosphere is done really well, and it helps that you don't actually see the children kill for the first two acts. It's all in the power of suggestion, and in the feeling of dread you get from every scene. The child actors are also great, their blank, unemotional stares send shivers down my spine. The plot follows the creepy kid formula beat by beat, but it's not a problem. Just take the obligatory first kill, the one that always looks like it's an accident. That scene is executed perfectly, really unnerving. The movie never really drops the ball from then on.

There's nothing ground-breaking about "The Children", there's not even anything interesting to the plot. It's very much style over substance, but the style is great and that's enough for me to recommend it.
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Excellent new horror movie
Rocket-Pictures27 November 2008
Saw a preview of this. Was worried that it would be a bit cheesy but it had me and my girlfriend on the edge of our seats. Really gripping and uses psychological rather than gore to scare. Very good for a British horror and has a kind of style and gloss that you usually associate with American films. Lead girl (the one from Hollyoaks) is fantastic and very cute and there are good turns from some excellent upcoming British actors. Jeremy Sheffield (the handsome one from Holby City) is excellent I'm surprised he has not been a leading man before. Story pitch is about a couple of middle class families with issues who meet up for Chistmas together. One of the kids seems to have a virus and over the holiday gradually the behaviour of the children starts to change as they become wild and feral and turn on their over anxious parents. For people with kids it's pretty uncomfortable and creepy, but if you've ever got fed up of those overly protective middle class parents who let their kids do whatever they want and can't control them, then this is good fun. I notice it's from the same director as WAZ, which was also a good film so it seems like he knows what he is doing and is one to watch in future.
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A Realistic, Tension Filled Horror Thriller With Mild, Yet Effective, Gore.
meddlecore12 December 2016
Goddamn, is this film ever creepy as f*ck.

Ever thought about killing your kids when they p*ss you off? Well, what if they were trying to murder you, and you had no other choice?

I actually hated this little low budget horror-thriller, from the UK, at first. Because the first half is so saturated with the incessant screaming of pre-pubescent little bastards, that it is beyond annoying.

However, that is done with intention, as to put you on edge (and I'm sure this is much more effective with people who are actual parents...although parents might be endowed with a certain tolerance, from their years of exposure, that I lack).

Either way, by the end, it had completely won me over with it's overt creepiness, realistic gore, and general atmosphere of tension.

It starts off with a couple families of best friends getting together to spend the Christmas holidays together.

Everything starts off relatively banal, until the children contract an illness while playing out in the woods- when things start to take a darker turn.

Tantrums, and what could be attributed to an accidental death...quickly develop into full fledged murder...

What the children lack in stature and strength; they make up for with wit and utter remorselessness.

Leaving what ensues, one of the most realistic, and plausible, sequence of events that you can expect to find in a gory tension filled slasher.

The end is eerily similar to that of Vinyan, which was also released in 2008, and would qualify as being part of the same oeuvre.

Making this, not wholly original, but really quite effective.

Notable, particularly, for it's is definitely worth a watch!!!

7 out of 10.
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The kids are all right...
bowmanblue27 May 2014's the adults you have to feel sorry for here. 'The Children' is a horror movie about a couple of yuppie families, coming together to celebrate new year's eve in a nice, out-of-the-way mansion (one of those with no mobile phone signal just when you need them). After discussing the benefits of home-schooling their offspring and Chinese herbal medicine, the children of both families go nuts and start murdering their parents indiscriminately. Why? Um, we don't know. They just do.

It's actually quite good too. There is gore, but it's done well and not overused. The adults are pretty smug and it's quite fun when they get the smile wiped off their faces using a sledge and a climbing frame (you'll have to watch it to understand).

The first half of the film sets the second, more gruesome, half up quite nicely. The best part of The Children is the children. It was obviously difficult persuading a bunch of under ten year olds to act like Jason Voorhees, but they've managed it here (presumably without ending up psychologically damaging the poor kids for life). The kids are pretty damn creepy.

Some reviewers have pointed out that one of the film's flaws is that the baddies are kids. Just kids. No superpowers or anything, just kids. Therefore it shouldn't be that hard to subdue them. However, bear in mind that those being hunted are the children's parents, therefore they may find it hard to defend themselves against a little person they've spent their life bringing up.

The Children isn't a perfect movie, but if you like horror, you should find it fun.

Of course if the parents had done what the rest of us adults do when our kids get out of hand, i.e. put on Cbeebies at the first sign of unrest, then none of the bad stuff in the film would have happened. All hail Peppa Pig. This film is the best advert for birth control you'll ever see.
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Unbearable, don't be tricked
bluefim26 December 2020
I cannot explain why this movie has a decent rating, especially for horror, with a lot of votes when I couldn't make it past the halfway mark. There is a very slow buildup and when things start happening the budget is too low to deliver anything. My brain was still struggling to understand what the first injury was supposed to be and how it happened while children screamed nonstop in the background. I turned it off after that. It felt like the longest time of my life and it wasn't even an hour.
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A good example of horror done adequately.
Otoboke11 December 2008
The horror movie usually comes in one of two possible and likely forms. The first blend is the thriller-orientated horror, splashed with lots of loud noises, running around and screaming teenagers. The second -and much more welcome to anyone with half a brain- of the two is the more dramatic kind. This variant is ironically the less frequent, but it too often shows audiences what a real scary movie can do. The Children then is surprisingly something of an oddity in its design and structure in regards to these two common styles. Sandwiched between two very strong acts of characterisation and tense atmospherics, the movie takes a massive dive during its middle act which resorts to the same old clichés that make the genre so unbearable to most. It's also the classic example of a director's talent being wasted on a script that is far below his capabilities, and yet without such an important figure the movie would have fell flat on its face. So while it staggers through the finish line with a limp, The Children is nevertheless a good example of horror done adequately, but nowhere near perfectly.

Telling the story of a New Years family get together out in a secluded part of the wilderness, The Children is a foreboding change of focus for the genre in that the movie's antagonists are around three foot tall and cry for their mommy. Of course, the premise is undoubtedly hammy on paper; the idea of these children turning sour and attempting to kill their parents is something easily brushed off the shoulder, yet director Tom Shankland does well in convincing us otherwise. Opening the feature with a perfectly paced piece of family drama and characterisation, Shankland introduces us to our characters that we instinctively know at least one of is going to get whacked off. This in turn makes the movie's rather predictable middle act a little more sustainable thanks to the domestic overtone to all the violence and horror, and the result is more likely to have you wince rather than groan. Yet lumbered with such a plodding and tiresome body, The Children too often focuses away from the elements that make it engaging in the first place; neglected to having characters run around alone looking for things, ideas wear thin and the plot disintegrates along with the numerous corpses replacing such characters.

One thing that really is quite astounding about the movie however lies in the performances, not just in the adults, but of the children themselves. Very rarely is it the case (and primarily so in this genre) that children performers are able to fill their roles without a sense of awkwardness to their presence that too often draws attention to the director's commands. Shankland here makes himself invisible, and manages to get some convincing work out of his young thespians as a result. Sure enough, the script makes sure that this isn't anything new for anyone involved; characters are rudimentary, but the performers do well with what they are given under the direction of Shankland to the point where the movie's horror is accentuated through the character rather than their grief. Combined with the erratic and often disorientating score penned by Stephen Hilton and the derivative but effective photography of Nanu Segal, The Children makes for a convincingly tense movie that makes up for its lacking script with fine aesthetics and implementation.

As a horror movie, The Children does well, specifically during its opening and closing acts; establishing characters that feel like more than maniac fodder whilst avoiding bringing too much focus on the somewhat shaky premise, and instead shifting towards the atmosphere involved, and the character's reactions to this. As a result, Shankland's movie definitely feels more like a mature and intelligent example of the genre, but is too often undermined by the formulated and mundane middle act that wields a bloodied knife. So while there is something to be appreciated by most audiences who may or may not be attracted to the genre, the restrictive and polarising nature of the clashing styles hurts the movie's integrity and ability to fully satisfy either crowd. Some will find things to enjoy within the excessive violence and cheesy plot, whilst others will gravitate more towards the movie's thick atmosphere, but it's hard to see anyone loving the whole, rather than its greater parts. A fair effort from Shankland, but as much good as he does with his cumbersome script, it is that which is his ultimate undoing here.

6/10 - A review by Jamie Robert Ward (
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