The Unseen: A Few Reasons You Should Hunt Down ‘The Children’


The Children

I think we can all agree that kids are just creepy. I have a daughter, and I’ll never forget the day she, at just over 18 months, walked into the living room, pointed at an empty corner, and began laughing, looking intently at some invisible hilarity I could not see. What the fuck was she looking at? It also seems clear that kids get scarier with age, which is evident in films like The Good Son, The Bad Seed, The Omen, Who Can Kill a Child?, or Daddy Daycare.

Sure they act all sweet and innocent, completely ignorant of the world around them, but in reality they seemingly just want to murder us.  You can see it in their eyes, all filled with wonder and homicide.

Back in 2008 one of the best evil child movies was given a quick and dirty release by the now less-active Ghosthouse Underground (with help from Lionsgate) who seemed to be following in the footsteps of the 8 Films to Die For model. This company picked up a number of really first-rate international titles and gave them an easily forgettable release. I remember finding most of these titles in the $3 bin at WalMart shortly after their initial distribution. It’s a shame since some of the films (like The Tattooist, Offspring, The Thaw, and The Substitute) were decent horror flicks.  But my favorite of the bunch was The Children!

Though it preformed well as a theatrical film in its home country of Britain, The Children quickly found its way to the Wal-Mart discount bin stateside.

Somewhere in the rural English countryside a group of long time friends have come together with their young families to celebrate the holidays. The group’s dynamic is dramatic from the start as they reminisce and become reacquainted. The adults soon notice that the children are beginning to act very strange and seem to have all come down with a basic cold.

This innocent little Eddie Bauer-ish outing slowly transforms into something more sinister as the kids get sicker and deadlier. But these kids are not just the mindless stabbing type! They build traps to ensnare the adults and exploit each of their weaknesses.

Shankland’s The Children feeds off internal conflict and fear of the ever-lurking and hiding tots, made even edgier by the tots’ heavy British accents. Plus there are some great gore effects and a very twisted surgery scene. This one is not expensive or hard to find by any means. Actually, it is available on Amazon for $8 used and $3 to watch on instant view. I’ve also seen some standard cable movie channels play an abridged (edited for gore) version of this late night. I highly recommend picking up the DVD. This will likely be a title you will later be sharing with friends, aptly describing it as an unknown horror gem. 

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