Wednesday, January 4, 2023

The Children (2008) - Just One More Reason I Don't Have Kids

I've long admitted that I don't want kids. And once I saw this movie I was so pleased with my decision I almost threw a party for my good sense of self and genuine honesty.  

The Children, a British horror film from some years back, is an effective yet low budget flick that gives new meaning to the phrase "bad kids", albeit was not the childrens' fault that they turned into little psychopaths.

Elaine and Jonah are traveling to her sister Chloe and her husband Robbie's to visit for the holidays. The two couples have five kids between them - one being teenager Casey from Elaine's previous relationship who isn't exactly happy to be there as she is missing a party.  Notably, upon arrival one of Elaine's kids, Paulie, vomits....which his parents attribute to car sickness. Their other child Miranda seems very uneasy to be there, and makes her feelings known. 

 Chloe and Robbie live out in the country and after the other family's arrival and greetings are given all around, the adult conversation revolves around environmental opportunities and who is doing the planet good, etc. They also put several bottles of wine to rest. Meanwhile, the kids get reacquainted and do the usual kid stuff - running, screaming, picking fights, etc. 

As the day rolls into evening, Chloe and Robbie's kids - Nicky and Leah - also complain of not feeling well.  As Leah rolls over to sleep, she coughs up some gunk that she wipes on her pillow and we are shown that some kind of virus is quickly multiplying in the goo.  

The next day, all the young children seem to be getting sick. The family cat goes missing, which of course does not bode well.  At dinner the following day, Miranda suddenly has a complete hissy fit which escalates into pure mayhem and has Jonah taking her upstairs to clam her down.  The rest of the kids head  outside to play in the snow with Robbie.  Also outside is Casey, who has spoken to her friends on the phone and has made plans for one of them to come pick her up so she can sneak off to the aforementioned party.  

All the sudden there is a lot of screaming and Casey runs back to discover Robbie has had a graphic and deadly incident involving downhill sledding and a garden rake.  As he lies bleeding out into the snow, the kids run into the woods . Jonah, Elaine and Chloe rush out to see the bloody scene and try to call emergency services which are tied up due to weather.  

Things escalate tenfold from there, with the kids completely out of control and their minds apparently. There are a series of horrific events that the kids initiate, with no regard for human life let alone the fact that it is their parents that they are out to harm.  It becomes a free-for-all situation in which everyone is out for themselves. 

Do we ever discover what the vomit goo is made of or what disease it is? No. Do the children come to their senses?  No.  Do the adults give those bratty kids a time out? No. Does emergency services ever get there? What do you think?!

But there are copious amounts of blood and a whole lot of children screaming and running amok throughout, which was at times rather off-putting.  But despite the relatively simple plot, the execution of the scenes is great and the story moves along at a rocket's pace once things get going. 

I love to pull this one out of my personal collection around the holidays.  It's a fun killer-kids flick that has good performances from adults and kids alike.  But don't ask me about the cat, okay? 

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