Children Of The Corn (2009)

DVD Cover (Anchor Bay)
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Overall Rating 38%
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Connections: Children Of The Corn

While traveling, an unhappy married couple encounter a cult of murderous children who worship an entity called He Who Walks Behind the Rows. --IMDb
Review by Crispy
Added: April 14, 2012
Dimension's Children of the Corn series ran for seven movies from 1986 to 2001, and generally speaking, it fucking sucked. Still, it's one of the more famous horror series, and gave cornfields the creepy reputation they have today, so it's no surprise that it would be remade sooner or later.

Nebraska: over 77,000 square miles of endless corn fields. Right in the middle of it is Burt and Vicky, a married couple on the brink of divorce. The idea was that the cross-country second honeymoon would be a good way to save their marriage, but cramming two people who basically hate each other into a car together is typically going to result in everything but rekindling love's spark. In the midst of a particularly nasty argument, Burt doesn't see the small child that's run out into the road until its too late, and runs the kid over. Inspecting the body while ignoring Vicky's verbal lashings, he realizes the boy's throat had been cut before he was hit. Putting him in the trunk, they head to the closest town, Gatlin, to report the murder. Unfortunately, something is very wrong here. The place is absolutely deserted. Except that is for the murderous group of child who see the invaders as a test from their god: He Who Walks Behind the Rows.

The original adaptation was actually pretty good throughout it's running time, up until that "chilling" climax that pretty much ruined the whole fucking movie. Twenty-four years later, Children of the Corn '08 follows a similar pattern, but it stays much closer to baseline. Most of the movie is OK. Not bad, but nothing phenomenal. And then, once again, we come to the ending, and things take a noticeable drop. Fortunately, this time it's not enough to wreck the movie that preceded it, but it's still a disappointment. In case you're unfamiliar with the short story, it's less than twenty pages long. From beginning to end, there's not enough in there to translate to feature-film length, so our screenwriters had to come up with their own additions to hit that ninety minute mark. In both cases, disaster strikes when it diverges from King's novella. While this was accomplished partly with the addition of a random sex scene (always appreciated), the majority of the new scenes were courtesy of Burt's Vietnam-veteran background, and as he's running through the corn field for his life, we're "treated" to never-ending images of Vietcong soldiers as he's in full flashback mode. Fifteen minutes of watching him thrash his way through corn stalks does not exactly make an entertaining movie.

Still, this was a more faithful adaptation than the eighty's version, and as a fan of King's story, I definitely appreciated it from that angle. I originally had no problem with the change made to Burt and Vicky's relationship, but seeing it restored to a couple who absolutely hate each other added a new level of tension to the mix, especially with Borchers returning the main focus of the film back on our hapless couple. Perhaps the biggest divergence I had a problem with in the last movie was the decision to change Malachai from a faithful follower of Issac and He Who Walks Behind the Rows to a full out rebel. Here, his loyalty is restored, along with the fact that unlike the gangly Courtney Gains, Daniel Newman was actually able to convey the threat that the cult's enforcer should have. Unfortunately, his young counterpart did not fare so well. Trying to bring in a sense of realism, Borchers brought in nine-year-old Preston Bailey to play Issac, and the results were a sad sight to behold. Child actors just never cut the mustard, and when one of the central characters is a kid, well there's some substantial collateral damage. He's certainly a large step down from John Franklin, although that's certainly an unfair comparison considering the latter was twenty five years old when he played the role.

As for our visiting couple, Kandyse McClure was somewhat of an interesting casting choice just based on her skin color. While it wasn't entirely unheard of, interracial marriages in the seventies were incredibly rare. Also, I absolutely hated the character. McClure's performance wasn't the problem, it was Vicky. I understand the two had fallen apart, but she was just so hostile here; it was too much. David Anders held his own decently enough as her beaten-down husband Burt, although his big speech to the kids in the alley could have used a few alternate takes. Like the rest of the film, the pair are "just good enough."

For a second time, an adaptation of King's story fails to please. Seriously guys, just read the story. It's like a whopping twenty pages, and you don't have to worry about screenwriters throwing in extra nonsense to pad out the length. 5/10.
Bill Wolford #1: Bill Wolford - added 04/14/2012, 05:19 PM
"McClure's performance wasn't the problem, it was Vicky. I understand the two had fallen apart, but she was just so hostile here; it was too much." This is what ruined the movie for me. I grew up with the short story & original movie, and this to me was just a borefest, and that whiny bitch vicky could have been killed in the first 10 minutes by her husband as far as I was concerned. I have this because I have all the rest (Except the newest one, which is being reviewed now).
Bill Wolford #2: Bill Wolford - added 04/14/2012, 05:21 PM
and they need to stop trying to sell these DVD's with that uncut & uncensored bullshit. What was in this film that had to be censored or cut in any previous version that didn't exist before it on DVD?
Chad #3: Chad - added 04/14/2012, 08:24 PM
It originally aired on SyFy, so maybe it had some junk it in that they couldn't show on TV. Haven't seen either version, just a guess.
Bill Wolford #4: Bill Wolford - added 04/14/2012, 10:18 PM
that could be true.
Crispy #5: Crispy - added 04/15/2012, 07:48 AM
There was some nudity in that short sex scene. Doubt that made it onto Syfy. Other than that, there wasn't much.
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