I’m sure most horror fans out there remember the original Children of the Corn. That little tale about a midwestern town taken over by a religious cult of children that worship a malevolent entity in the cornfields, hell-bent on ridding the town of anyone over the age of eighteen. It’s one that despite not holding up very well with its dated effects still resides in my all-time top 10. Creepy kids are one thing that will always give me the chills no matter the story. Well, after the original adaptation of the Stephen King short story in 1984 and the eleven (yes I said eleven) sequels over the next 35 years, Kurt Wimmer steps in to breathe new life into the series with his modern vision for Children of the Corn.
The town of Rylstone is slowly fading away after a GMO corporation stepped in and poisoned their crops destroying their livelihood in the process. Possessed by “he who walks”, a 12 year old girl named Eden (Kate Moyer) leads a group of children on a bloody rampage in an attempt to rid the town of all the adults and anyone who opposes her. A high schooler named Boleyn (Elena Kampouris) is the one thing standing in her way and the townsfolk’s only hope for survival.
First off, I’m not sure this series needed a reimagining. The first film was a foundational one in my horror library, I still enjoy it to this day despite its issues. I mean it holds a spot in my horror top 10 for a reason. The subsequent “direct to dvd” offerings, eh, not so much. When I first heard about the film’s premiere in Florida back in 2020 I was curious but skeptical. How can they improve on the OG when everything since has been atrocious? There’s always that hope though. With the advancements made in the effects and CGI fields this could be something good, right? Right?? Not too long after that though the initial buzz died down and it fell completely off my radar. Then January 2023 rolls around, you have RJLE and Shudder to acquire distribution rights and BOOM, the curiosity returns. I approached this news with trepidation though. I have been burned before.
Kurt Wimmer has brought us some gems like Equilibrium (and some questionable ones like Ultraviolet) so I wanted to give this flick the benefit of the doubt. After viewing it though, I’m kind of torn. This film is chock full of beautifully-framed shots and amazing overhead drone captures but the story is flimsy and the acting felt forced. Granted the only real changes over the 1984 telling, aside from a few character names, is being from an insider’s perspective and not from a hapless couple wandering into the mayhem so it shouldn’t have been that difficult. While watching this, it never felt like it was building to some huge climax. It just felt like I was counting down the minutes, waiting for the credits to roll. When it comes to the acting, that could in all honesty be the writing so I’m not faulting the cast. Like I said, though, visually it was pretty eye-pleasing with the exception of “he who walks”. You would think with a $10mil budget the filmmakers could muster something that didn’t look like he stepped off the set of a SYFY original. At that point just keep it like the 1984 version where the entity was an unseen force and put that portion of the budget toward something else but I digress…
Whenever a remake gets announced, especially in the horror genre I always hold out hope that there will be some kind of improvement made upon the original but this one feels like we went backward. There could very well be some people that like this one out there, there always is. That’s the beauty of this genre. There’s a fan for every twisted mind that puts image to film.
Just so we don’t end on a down note though, let me say it was great seeing Bruce Spence as Pastor Penny. Although I’m sure he’s been acting since, I haven’t seen him since his roles in Road Warrior as the Gyro Captain and Jedediah in Beyond Thunderdome. Two of my favorites.
Children of the Corn will have a limited theatrical release starting March 3rd and will hit Shudder on the 21st.