24 July 2010

In Short: Children of the Corn

Children of the Corn
Cast: David Anders, Kandyse McClure, Preston Bailey
Writer & Director: Brian P. Borchers
Release: 26 September 2009 (Sci-Fi Channel)
SyFy, 92 mins., Unrated

Plot: A married couple find themselves trapped in a town run by crazy religious children who fancy it their destiny to rid the world of adult "sinners" to appease their Lord of Corn...or something.

Confession time: I'm not a huge fan of the work of Stephen King, and thus haven't really read his books past the chapter two mark or watched his movies, with the exception of Stanley Kubrick's The Shinning. So this means I have never read Children of the Corn, nor seen the 1984 film. Ergo, I'll be judging this movie on its own merits. The sad thing is, though, there's not much to be said about this production. Leads David Anders (of "Heroes" fame, having played the villainous but lovable Tekzo Kensei) and Kandyse McClure (the beloved and tragic Dee of Sci-Fi's "Battlestar Galactica") are entirely unlikable, and if it wasn't for the honestly intriguing storyline as the basis of the movie, I'd probably turn the flick off. Of course, their characters are, true to the script, at the end of their marriage - hardly able to stand one another. However, that shouldn't mean the audience can't stand them either, let alone me wishing the 'children of the corn' sliced and diced their mouths off fifteen seconds into meeting them.

With two leads who can't hold my interest - although watching David Anders lose his mind in the cornfield around the hour mark was certainty delightful - the idea of this super religious cult who worship He Who Walks Behind the Rows, aka something in the corn...well, that's pretty intriguing. I haven't a clue the explanation in the original novel and movie, but from what I gather, there's a supernatural, if not God-like, entity residing within the corn (or possibly conceived by the corn?) and has the power to mind frak with intruders minds. It rests during daylight, but seizes the night., and apparently possesses the ability to 'show' folks physical manifestations of their memories. The entire third act, starting with Anders lost in the corn after awesomely swearing to kill at the "little shits", saves this remake from becoming a total waste of time.

Granted, the scripts fine, the cinematography is agreeable for a direct-to-DVD production, and the pacing works for creating a sense of tension. But the actors just can't cut it, from seasoned sci-fi vets like Anders and Kandyse to the relative child unknowns who impressively spout off scripture. If you're at the library and this title strikes your fancy, then by all means I encourage a rental. Just...I would caution a blind buy [though if you're reading this, and you choose to buy it, you're not really blind-buying it. Unless you bought it, and then decided to read this, which would be a blind buy. Yeah - how 'bouts that for words of wisdom for today?]. If there's one positive thing that came out of this experience: I now fondly think of a made-up episode of "Supernatural" where Sam and Dean make their way to Gatlin (?) and just beat the shit out of these kids and torch the corn. Problem solved. Yeah, watch "Supernatural." You'll love it.

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