Monday, September 26, 2011

[Review] Children of the Corn: Genesis

Have you ever met someone who actually loved the original Children of the Corn? I sure haven't. Even Stephen King, who wrote the short story the film was based on, considers it an embarrassment. Made on a meager budget with King's name plastered all over the advertisements, it comes as no surprise that the film made a decent profit during its theatrical run. But considering the film's quality and the fact that it really doesn't have a fanbase at all, let alone a big one, it's rather baffling that the "Children" didn't die back there in 1984, but instead spawned one crappy direct-to-video sequel after another over a span of almost 30 years.

How the heck did that happen?!

Here we are now, in 2011, and once again we're given yet another tale of "He who walks behind the rows" in Children of the Corn: Genesis. Knowing how lame the series was right from the start, my decision to watch the 8th entry was obviously an odd choice, and I suppose that explains why the series is still around — No matter how hard we try to stay away, our morbid curiosity always gets the better of us. But in a rather shocking turn of events, I was left absolutely dumbfounded when I realized this latest sequel is actually (here it comes!) not that bad.

*Feel free to gasp*

As the film begins, we're introduced to a young couple stranded with a broken-down car on a deserted scenic route somewhere out in California. They wander along the road in search of a town, and find shelter in the isolated farm house of creepy old Preacher (Billy Drago) and his Russian mail-order bride. When the guests realize something is rotten in the state of Denmark and discover a child is being kept locked up in a shed out back, the couple find themselves trapped by an unseen force that refuses to let them leave.

The entirety of the film takes place in this one house and, in all honesty, not much really happens. Save for the quick 1973 prologue at the beginning of the film, there isn't any children-run-amok violence here that you would expect from this series. This is a shame, I suppose, but there are a number of other sequels that can quench that thirst, so I guess a different approach was necessary at this point. Instead of violence, the film relies on the mystery of it all as we're given a ghost-like apparition roaming the house, psychokinetic activity and twisty characters that can't be trusted.

All of it, admittedly, is rather bare and by the time the second half rolls around, it does get a bit silly. But when all is said and done, I actually quite like where the story ended up going, feeling like the whole film was just an ominous precursor for a much bigger story. Director Joel Soisson handled the material and miniscule budget surprisingly well, creating a polished, decently acted mystery that kept me entertained till the very end.

Considering the fact that Children of the Corn: Genesis is a low budget direct-to-dvd and the 7th sequel in a pretty damn cruddy series, I have to say it's reasonably successful for what it is. It actually worked for me, although I realize I'm probably in the minority on this. It's cheap and silly at times, but never to the extent of hindering the overall experience. I wouldn't recommend going out of your way to see it, but if you're bored and feel like giving it a chance, I say go for it. But bear in mind that it's a b-movie after all, so know what you're getting yourself into.


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