Instead of flourishing like healthy rows of corn, the Children Of The Corn series had instead been speading across the bargin shelves of DVD rental places like some sort of uncontrollable weed, literally being of no use to anyone. Long since cast out by their “parent”, Stephen King, who wisely and metaphorically put the diminutive little shits up for adoption, the series nevertheless continued to grow despite the fact that I’ve never actually met a soul who has sat through one of the later titles.
Let’s put it this way, even devotees of some of the other, long running horror franchises eventually warm to some of the lesser entries given time – I myself am rather fond of Jason Takes Manhattan, these days – but I don’t think anyone will ever think of Children Of The Corn: Revelation with anything other than contempt.
After her grandmother has gone for weeks without answering her calls, Jamie Lowell has come to Omaha, Nebraska in order to make sure that her wispy haired, nightgown wearing nana hasn’t slipped in the bath or fallen foul of a scammer – however, pretty soon both those examples would prove to be far more desirable than what she finds.
Firstly, Jamie’s grandmother has mysteriously disappeared from the ramshackle apartment building she shares with a typically eccentric group of weirdos, but what’s also decidedly odd is that the old dear chose to move to an address mere months before the building is due to be condemned which makes this predicament all the more baffling.
After quizzing the other residents – ditzy stripper, bug-eyed gun waver, wheelchair bound asshole, bong huffing building manager – and even attempting to get the help of the lantern-jawed, but staggeringly ineffectual Detective Armbrister, Jamie finally realizes that her grandmother’s disappearance might have something to do with her with the stern-faced priest who is constantly hanging around or – more likely – the gang of hollowed-eyed kids who constantly appear around the place while chucking out death stares at anyone they encounter.
After a lot of meandering that’s mainly caused by the fact that Jamie somehow has no idea that everyone else in the building is getting murdered by the creepy kids, our heroine finally catches on that her grandmother was a member of a cult of children back in her youth who regarded adults as agents of the devil (wait, what?), but who escaped a ritualistic suicide as her infant companions burned themselves alive to appease their god, He Who Walks Behind The Rows. It seems that the kids have come back to claim her, but they won’t stop there as every murder increases their number and Jamie is being saved as their final target.
So, once again I have to trawl through yet another, poorly lit, choppily edited, Miramax cash job that seemingly was going toe-to-toe with the Hellraiser franchise as to see which franchise Dimension Films could bottom out first. I don’t know if the continuing regurgitating of these movies was some kind of tax dodge, oh maybe someone executive’s screw up nephew was put in charge to keep him away from the real movies, but Children Of The Corn: Revelation does absolutely nothing to improve the downward spiral that seemingly has no end. As the formless plot and endless jump cuts unfolded, I constantly found myself wondering why I had opted to tackle the Corn franchise at all – I mean, the Puppet Master and Leprechaun movies are hardly art, but at least they aspire to be goofy, trashy fun instead of this string of poorly lit, scareless, non entities…
Anyway, I suppose I’d better start acting like a professional instead of once again taking up valuable column space by complaining about a franchise I chose to review while being of sound mind and body and this time round, the villainous brats now seem to be a small cabal of murderous ghosts, instead of a demonically influenced crowd of mini-murderers. To be honest, that’s the one, sole, smart decision the script makes as it’s getting more and more difficult to believe that any kids would actually give a shit about a corn-obsessed god when 2001 saw such games as Halo and GTA3 hit the consoles. Thus the string of weirdly-dressed, odd-looking, slack jawed nippers makes a bit more sense this time round and it’s nice that this movie has cast actual children this time.
With that being said, it’s a given that the movie promptly does nothing with them and is content to have a progressively sweatier Claudette Mink very slowly Nancy Drew her way through a poorly written mystery while getting distracted by the various examples if cannon fodder that shares her grandmother’s building. Needless to say, none of the cast have a shred of personality between them and are mostly horrendous characters who excude strong “dead meat” energy while they wait for their turn to die.
Take the perky stripper who somehow is the type of moron who would talk home through a condemned neighbourhood wearing a cheerleader outfit from work, or the frazzled building owner who treats hallucinogenic drugs like a food group – both of which are positively screaming for their imminent demise.
However, their deaths prove to ultimately be as boring as they are, with people getting pulled off roofs or even succumbing to something as bland a heart attack (yawn) – also I will admit that the scene where the stripper is drowned in her bathtub by killer vines is fairly novel.
Joining the surprisingly impressive list of crusty character actors that have let their lack of judgement see them appear within this franchise is the gravelly tones of Michael Ironside, who does nothing but rumble out exposition as he takes his place among other familiar faces such as Karen Black, David Caradine, Nancy Allen and Stacey Keach. However, its down to Mink to run, hit her marks and try to act believably terrified at the sight of obviously CGI corn growing before her very eyes in order to drag the movie past the finishing line and although she manages a decent enough job, shes given no aid whatsoever from the dimple-chinned, charisma-void who portrays the male lead.
Yet still the franchise grew and grew and after this and the past three installments somehow failed to scupper the series, you have to wonder what exactly it would take to put this franchise into the ground where it belongs.