Children of the Corn (2020)

I’ve been waiting for this movie for three years. Principal photography began in New South Wales in early March 2020 — just when COVID-19 started — and wrapped that June. While it had a premiere in Sarasota, Florida on October 23, 2020, it was as if this movie were never made. That is, until RJLE bought the rights and released it in theaters this March, with plans for a blu ray in May and an eventual run on Shudder.

The first movie in this series to play theaters since 1993’s Children of the Corn II: The Final Sacrifice — there are ten other movies in this series as well as the short film that predates them, Disciples of the Crow — none of the movies have ever lived up to the original Children of the Corn.

Does this?

The town of Rylstone, Nebraska — well, Rylstone, Australia, but let’s go with what the movie tells us — is considered a government buyout for their failed corn. Robert (Callan Mulvey) plans on selling, but his daughter Boleyn (Elena Kampouris) argues it. Then there are the town’s children, led by Rylstone Children’s Home resident Eden (Kate Moyer), who come to the town meeting to weigh in before being laughed at by the grown-ups.

However, Eden speaks to He Who Walks, the demonic presence within the cornfield and soon the children of the small city have risen up and come at their parents with death in their hearts. Eden learned from an incident in your youth when Boyd (Rory Potter) emerged from the corn and killed every adult in the orphanage and when the cops unleashed halothane gas, all the kids died as well. Now, Bolelyn must figure out a way to stop the carnage when the kids go wild.

I kind of like how this film got in a message about herbicides and GMOs. There’s also a scene where Bolelyn’s beother Cecil (Jayden McGinlay) Cecil walks through town and notices just how much child abuse — not to mention his mother cheating on his dad — there is in this falling to pieces town. He joins Eden, as she claims the entity she serves will help them kill everyone.

While most of the important town leaders are placed in prison, the rest are led to a mass grave, gassed with that same halothane and then buried under dirt. It’s a really well-done and rough scene. Other than the shock ending that sets up — you know it — another sequel, things work pretty well in this, if still in the shadow of what came before.

The main reason I was excited for this was that it was directed and written by Kurt Wimmer, who wrote Sphere and the remake of The Thomas Crowne Affair before directing two wild early 2000s movies that showed off his riff on Hong Kong action called gun fu, Equilibrium and Ultraviolet.

The results? Not the worst film in the series and one that takes its own path away from the cult idea and presents more ecohorror. It’s an interesting idea and just ends up being an okay movie, but when you’re the 12th film in a series, okay sometimes is more than okay.

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