Do you remember that bit at the end of It’s A Wonderful Life where an offensively cute child states that every time a bell rings, an angel gets their wings. Well, conversely, does that also mean that everytime they announce another Children Of The Corn sequel, Stephen King suddenly gets an uncontrollable nose bleed? Well, the unstoppable man from Maine must have gotten a fucking gusher when they announced that they were making an astonishing ninth movie based off of his overused and over abused short story from his 1978 compilation novel, Night Shift.
As I contune on my ill advised and utterly draining trawl through what may very well be horror’s most maligned franchise, I honestly believe I may have hit a new low with 2011’s Genesis, a Children Of The Corn movie that has the unmitigated balls to barely include any children, or feature much corn either.
Boomers Of The Corn simply doesn’t have the same ring to it.
After their car breaks down in the sweltering heat, Tim and the pregnant Allie wander about looking for a house with a phone and stumble upon the ramshackle hovel owned by a sneering bumpkin named Preacher and his Ukrainian rent-a-wife “Helen” (actual name Oksana). Bizarrely failing to see an endless string of worrying red flags in this situation, the couple aren’t just receptive to the concept to them entering Preacher’s rickety shit-pit, they positively insist on it, striding deep into a potentially dangerous situation with the confidence of a rodent with big-ass balls tackling a mousetrap. While Tim calls for a tow truck in another room, Helen/Oksana starts employing some wandering hands that he gently rebuffs, yet when the couple finds out that help won’t arrive until the next morning, they unbelievably agree to spend the night in the lop-sided shack that makes the cabin from The Evil Dead look like the freaking Ritz.
Preacher only has one rule, don’t wander “where you are not invited”, so obviously, the very second everyone settles down for the night, Allie goes walkabout whe trying to find the outhouse and stumbles into a cult worshiping church that’s located within Preacher’s garage (What, no games room?) and is convinced she can hear the sounds of a weeping child coming from within.
Filling in Tim to what she suspects, the evening suddenly turns sour as telekinetic spirits, dreams of murderous children and a supernatural force that needs unborn children to sustain itself envelop the dopey couple who hope to be able to make a break for it once the sun comes up.
Can this clueless couple manage to get away with their lives and their unborn child intact?
So, it’s with a long, drawn out exhale that I now move the actual review part of this article and I face it with a certain amount of dread as I have no idea how to stretch out an evaluation of a movie that has pretty much nothing going for it whatsoever. Say what you will about the previous attempt to plunder King’s tale for financial gain, but at least the 2009 made-for-tv remake – as bland as it was – was true to the original story; Children Of The Corn: Genesis, doesn’t seem to have a story of it’s own, let alone one cribbed from one of the most prolific writers of modern fiction. In fact, I have the sneaking suspicion that Dimension Films had been up to the same type of tricks that sunk the Hellraiser franchise by picking up unrelated screenplays and clumsily retrofitting them to be part of a pre-existing series. What gives me this idea, because this ninth entry in this wretched franchise has no real psycho children, no cornfields that I could see and not even the slightest snifter of He Who Walks Behind The Rows and instead the film gives us a random evil force that ensnares pregnant women that works through veteran B-Movie villain extraordinaire Billy Drago. A switch in the norm isn’t exactly new for a franchise that’s previously avoided continuity like Leonardo DiCaprio’s avoided middle-aged women, but surely a Children Of The Corn movie that goes easy on children and corn is a step too far. Maybe it wouldn’t be such a chore if director Joel Soisson replaced them with anything interesting or even remotely scary, but the script comes fully stocked with endless wandering, confusing exposition and a pace so slow you’re literally stunned that the film isn’t running backward.
The leads, played by Kelen Coleman and Tim Rock are perky enough and if gifted a script that wasn’t as flat as a steam rollered hamster, might actually have been a tad more animated than the usual main characters that blindly stumble throughout these flicks, but thanks to some impressively dumb decisions – even for a low budget horror sequel – they prove to be as likable as a particularly nasty case of bunions. The writer presumably thought that having them be at odds by dredging up fears of infidelity and a previous miscarriage that may have been more of an abortion would tighten up the drama; instead all it does is distract from the poorly realised evil that’s causing all the trouble in the first place.
The film mercilessly pads it’s own runtime with a pre credits sequence that actually does contain killer children and sees a soldier returning from the Vietnam war to his pre-slaughtered family, but if its contected to the main story, I certainly missed it. I’m assuming the same evil was responsible, but was the soldier a young Billy Drago or something? I understand my confusion about such a simple plot point may be down to my lax, movie watching skills, but in my defence, it’s tough to focus on a movie that’s as thrilling as a reading of a phone book by the economics teacher from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Anyway, I’d much rather be dedicating my mind toward way more important questions like: if Oksana is living in abject poverty, why is her dress so white? And: didn’t that car crash use b-roll footage from Bad Boys 2? Further padding comes from dream sequences that’s the closest the film comes to actually referencing it’s own roots and a couple of unremarkable murder sequences that either involve a pitchfork or just steals the death by sudden levitation trick from that Julianne Moore, alien film from 2004, The Forgotten.
The sole impressive thing about the Children Of The Corn movies is that somehow seem to keep coming despite no one that I know of even remotely liking them, but at this rate, due to this remarkable survival instinct, cockroaches that survive the nuclear holocaust will have to contend with spending the rest of their little roach lives watching the similarly indestructible franchise on loop.
Watching Children Of The Corn: Genesis after the world has fallen? Talk about the survivors envying the dead…