The Children (2008)

   

Written & Directed by: Tom Shankland

Starring:


Eva Birthistle .... Elaine
Stephen Campbell Moore .... Jonah
Jeremy Sheffield .... Robbie
Rachel Shelley .... Chloe
Hannah Tointon .... Casey
Raffiella Brooks .... Leah
Jake Hathaway .... Nicky
William Howes .... Paulie
Eva Sayer .... Miranda

Release Dates: Theatrical: December 5, 2008 (UK); European Film Market: February 10, 2009 (Germany); Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival: April 17, 2009; CPHPIX Festival: April 17, 2009 (Denmark); Imagine Film Festival: April 18, 2009 (Netherlands); Karlovy Vary Film Festival: July, 2009; PiFan International Film Festival: July, 2009 (Korea); Fantasia International Film Festival: July 24, 2009; L'Étrange Festival: September 6, 2009; MOTELx Lisbon International Horror Film Festival: September 6, 2009 (Portugal); Sitges International Fantastic Film Festival: October 1, 2009

Rating:

 

Two parents named Elaine and Jonah goes away to an isolated house with some relatvies in the woods for the Christmas holidays for fun and relaxation.
But one of the family has three kids and one a teenager who's been grounded for the holidays named Casey (Hannah Tointon) who is just being mopey and not seeing eye to eye with her first younger sister Miranda (Eva Sayer) and has a younger brother who hardly says a word named Paulie (William Howes) who keeps to himself alot.
When they arrive they are greeted by Elaine's sistter Chloe (Rachel Shelley) and her husband Robbie (Jeremy Sheffield) with their two children
Leah (Raffiella Brooks) and Nicky (Jake Hathaway).
Somehow a virus of some sort has effected the kids overnight and they don't act normal at all.
Miranda threw a raging fit during a New Years dinner at the table so Robbie takes the other kids outside while Jonah tries to calm Miranda down but suddenly while Robbie goes sleigh riding headfirst and then Nicky brings a cart full of objects including a sharp garden object as he passes by and getting in the way causing Robbie to crash into it and bleeding half to death but the family can't seem to get through to a 911 call.
The terror then begins with the kids as they try to kill their relatives one by one and it's up to the parents to either kill them or else they end up getting killed themselves.

 

There's a good energetic scene with everyone getting together for the holidays as it looked like a realistic family getting together.
Good shots on the children pounding on his toy xylophone or Miranda staring emotionlessly while some sort of activity is occurring.
There's also a nice moment with the children in their room chatting away and then suddenly they're disturbed by something as well as being silent which looked creepy as well as a good shot on Leah sleeping with a camera closing in on her pillow showing some virus.
A good camera shot closing in on both Miranda and Jonah sleeping with Paulie standing there in the dark room staring at them leaving the direction of the film a nice spooky feel to the story.
Many good camera takes on everyone playing in the snow outside as well as a shot inside a tent with kids playing their games in there along with a shot on a cat's collar hung which makes you think "What the hell?" as well as a nice shot on Miranda showing a cold expression on her face peeking out of the tent along with a brief distant shot on Paulie standing there and watching her.
A nice shot on Jonah looking at a book with pictures of family faces with gruesome artwork on it. Then a nice shot on a sled sliding towards Chloe carrying a tray of drinks while Paulie is standing and watching which leaves a good impression that something bad is going to happen.
Nice tense moments with Jonah spanking Paulie with him crying which looked believeably dysfunctional. Then we spot great close up shots on Miranda and Nicky staring at one another as if they were communicating on what to do next.
Terrific intense moment with everyone at the dinner table and Miranda going haywire as well as others crying hysterically. Plus we spot a good surprise shot with Leah getting physical towards Chloe and everyone else trying to get the kids to go outside while Jonah is dragging Miranda to try and calm her down which truly makes you cringe.
Great shot on Robbie spinning Leah around outside. Plus a nice shot on him speeding along in a sled headfirst while there's a good close up shot on Nicky carrying a wagon full of supplies along with a good close up shot on a sharp garden tool peeking out while there's a good shot on Robbie closing in when this happens. There's also good takes on Jonah holding Miranda down on a bed while she shrieks hysterically. All of this looked incredibly shocking and well done.
A perfect moment with Chloe screaming and crying in hysterics finding out what happened to her husband and Elaine trying to calm her down. This was one of the best moments in the film.
Another suspenseful direction with many shots on Elaine trying to get Paulie to come to her in a playground on a case of ladders which keeps you watching and fear that she is the next one for an accidental death.
There's a nice shot on Elaine lying on the ground at the playground with her eyes blinking as well as shots of blood soaking in the snow.
Many great quick shots on windows breaking in a green house with both Elaine and Casey inside it screaming and getting scared as well as quick shots involving the kids trying to attack them.
There's also good shots on a tent getting stabbed with a knife drawing down on it with Chloe in it screaming and looking frightened.
A nice closing in shot on Miranda looking zombie like in a hallway.
Good shot on Elaine having her back on a door and holding a sharp equipment from the fireplace pointing out and sobbing as well as both Nicky and Leah slowly walking towards her very spookylike along with terrific energy with Casey on the other end of the door pounding hysterically.
There's a nice shot on Casey outisde in a forestry area looking at a snowy ground and crying as well as a nice quick shot on Miranda charging at her.
Bottom line: Wow at first this film seemed to borrow a bit from Children of the Corn but really it doesn't when you keep watching it. It's very original and one of a kind imagining if your kids were infected and turned evil trying to kill grown up's as well as their own parents and it's peer pressure to the parents wondering if they have to their their children or get killed by them.
Lots of intensity throughout this film looking dysfunctional and then becoming horrifying wondering what's going to happen next with the children's evil and deadly plans.
You kinda wondered how this disease came to be that effected the children which remains an unsolved mystery plus a door was open to a sequel which I hope they will and maybe it will be explain why the childrens behavior occurred. A real struggle with the grown ups and lots of tragic happenings too. The film will keep you glued from beginning to end and an exellent story which can really be influential too. Finally an original film and not a remake so let's hope there'll be more like this since Hollywood is running out of ideas and if they watch this UK indie flick then they might just make better films.

The acting is incredible as it looks like a realisitc family and their dysfunctional moments. Eva Birthistle (Elaine) showed terrific emotions as the lead actress and caring mother and really knowing how to act confused about what to do when her kids turn on her. She shows many interesting characterisitcs and knowing how to act like a basket case with all the terrors surrounding her.
Hannah Tointon (Casey) really brough out the energy and rage in her character especially when she cries intensely at a devastating moment and knew on how to pull off her part. She's probably the best actress in this flick.
Rachel Shelley
(Chloe) does well as a typical teenager going through a phase by having a sulky attitude as well as really knowing on how to act incredibly intense and going into a screaming rage when she needed to with the terrors happening.
Eva Sayer (Miranda) was the best child actress in the film knowing how to act evilly menacing as well as showing evil expressions too. She also was a ball of energy when it came to her shrieking and crying rage as well as attacking her victims too.
William Howes
(Paulie) really knew how to act like a shy and quiet like expressionless kid as he stood out well showing that he is so quiet that he's very deadly too. He was certainly the drawing card to the plot of the film and really stressed that.
Raffiella Brooks
(Leah) really knew how to portray an innocent like child that she's believeably deceiving. She made her part believeably interesting that she's not to be trusted even if she tries to come across that she's harmless.

A head is cut open
A leg is busted up
Many brutal bloody stabbings but they're quick
A man is bloodied

The music is wonderfully done by Stephen Hilton knowing what to use for each scene using some sharp rusty sounds along with some windy light piano playing. He also has some dark creepy tones too. Plus we get alot of screechy high pitched violin sounds.

Elaine: Come on now, Daddy's not angry!
Jonah: No, Daddy's very angry!

Miranda: Bye-bye Mummy.
Elaine: What?
Miranda: Be nice to Leah and Nicky
[grabs her leg splints]