Worth seeing - spoilers.
- The Children review by NP
Twits will insist on breeding, won’t they? Back in the 1980s, the adults represented here would have been known as Yuppies, young and upwardly mobile characters who do terribly well in business. This allegedly successful bent is balanced by possessing personalities smug and self-serving coupled with an inability to cope with the challenges of raising their young. I don’t wish to enter into the debate of child discipline too strongly, but “We don’t smack children here,” is the mantra extolled by the adults and possibly this stretches to “we don’t discipline children at all.” The reason I say this is that most of the youngsters are brattish, and whenever they misbehave, their behaviour is met with an ‘understanding’ gaze and a “What’s the matter, sweetheart?” line of soothing questions. When the children’s behaviour deteriorates further and they actually start killing people, the remaining parents are still trying to empathise with them, which leaves this viewer wondering who is more deserving of a slap?
Anyway, with that out of the way, what we have here is a New Year’s Eve smug-off celebration where two attractive young families can outwardly hug and adore each other, while privately slate each other for lack of business acumen. The idyllic surroundings are spoiled when the children seem to become possessed and start killing the hapless adults. It is never explained why this happens.
Most brattish of all is sexy teen strop artist Casey (Hannah Tointon), who emerges as the true hero of the piece, having been wrongly accused of all sorts by the idiotic adults. The mix of their stupidity and her precocious, inappropriately flirtatious manner doesn’t help anyone, but she displays sense and a stoical attitude whilst all about her are whimpering and floundering.
In many slasher-type films, we find ourselves willing for the death of the alleged ‘good guys’, but such a (surely) deliberate decision to make the parents this stupid is an interesting expansion of reasons for dislike. And whilst the children never quite become the threat we are supposed to think they are, their looks of angelic distraction works well in a creepy kind of way – as does the revelation of yet more juveniles scattered throughout the unforgiving snow and frosty woodlands.
Where things don’t work quite as well is in the kids’ physical power. Possibly more time and money would have been needed to successfully make them more formidable and whilst the effects here are good, they rarely quite convince, often making the adults suffering at their hands even more inept. With a heightening of the actual brutality, this would have been more successful. What he have is a well-made thriller with good performances and as such, is worth seeing.
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