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Children Of The Corn IV: The Gathering (1996)

DVD Cover (Echo Bridge Entertainment)
Movie Connections:
Children Of The Corn
> Disciples Of The Crow (1983)
> Children Of The Corn (1984)
> Children Of The Corn II: The Final... (1992)
> Children Of The Corn III: Urban... (1995)
> Children Of The Corn IV: The... (1996)
> Children Of The Corn V: Fields Of... (1998)
> Children Of The Corn 666: Isaac's... (1999)
> Children Of The Corn: Revelation (2001)
> Children Of The Corn (2009)
> Children Of The Corn: Genesis (2011)
> Children Of The Corn: Runaway (2018)
Genres:
Horror, Religious Horror, Supernatural Horror
Director:
Greg Spence Greg Spence
Starring:
Naomi Watts Naomi Watts
Jamie Renée Smith Jamie Renée Smith
Karen Black Karen Black
Mark Salling Mark Salling
Brent Jennings Brent Jennings

4.3 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by Crispy
Added: March 04, 2012
If there's one thing that wrecked the Puppet Master franchise, it'd have to be the absolute disregard to continuity. Sequels would feature entirely new directions out of nowhere, more often than not in direct contradiction to prior entries in the movie. Children of the Corn IV falls to the very same trap.

This is certainly not what young medical student Grace Rhodes sure would call the high point of her life: her mother is so plagued with nightmares that paranoia and borderline dementia rule her life, and she's no longer able to care for her other two kids. So, Grace has returned to her childhood home of Grand Island to help out until her mother gets back on her feet, even taking back her old job with the town doctor. And not a moment to soon, it seems, as every kid in the town is suddenly stricken with dangerously high fevers which spike to scary levels before subsiding completely just as quickly. Soon after, these kids collectively pick up some strange habits: renaming themselves after murderous children in the town's past, ripping their teeth out, murdering the local adults. It seems that Grand Island's darkest secret has literally been uncovered, and Grace is the only one who can lay a very angry spirit to rest again.

Fortunately, the movie doesn't have the added dead weight of bad acting on its head. In an early role, Naomi Watts proves her worth very well, and William Windom was damned entertaining as the old doctor. I also enjoyed Brent Jennings as a family man wrongfully accused for his son's murderous ways, although the character kind of went down hill at the end; not that Jennings could do anything about that. Finally, Brandon Kleyla was more than sufficiently creepy enough in role as our teenaged terror. If only had been cast in the previous year's entry instead of Daniel Cerny, and Urban Harvest would have been a wicked little horror movie.

It would not surprise me at all if our filmmakers hadn't seen a single Corn movie before kicking out this sequel. Again, the whole premise just has nothing to do with the story we've been watching for the last three films, He Who Walks Behind the Rows and the Gatlin massacre isn't even so much as mentioned. I understand maybe wanting to shake it up a little bit, but that doesn't mean you remove the very evil the entire franchise is based upon. Especially one that is so ripe to build upon. Hell, even the kills are completely out of left field. While part three had more of a reliance than voodoo and magic than the farm tools the series is known for, attacks here seemed straight out of a Nightmare on Elm Street movie, right down to that franchise's trademark surreality. It works when, you know, it happens in a dream, but when it's supposed to be in the real world, it's just ridiculous.

Children of the Corn IV just falls short on all levels, both as a sequel and as its own movie. They could have very easily tied the entire affair into He Who Walks Behind the Rows, even if it wasn't the main focus of the film. Not that it would have saved the movie, but it would have at least given it a place in the franchise. 2/10.
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