Creepy kids are all the rage in 21st-century horror, which means a new “Children of the Corn” adaptation was inevitable.
The original Stephen King short story has yet to yield a single horror classic, but it’s not for lack of trying.
The new “Children of the Corn,” given a 2020 time stamp but releasing now, isn’t a remake. The story’s events are very different from the 1984 original, itself a lackluster effort that inexplicably jump-started eight sequels/extensions (and a 2009 remake).
It’s more of an attempt to squeeze the last ounce of juice from the King short story. What’s left at this point is genre pulp, and little else.
A small Nebraska town is in its death throes. Its once-thriving corn business is gone, broken by promises of politicians who scattered rather than face the consequences.
That leaves smart teen Bo (Elena Kampouris) eager to am-scray, a move that threatens to break her young brother’s heart. Bo thinks the news could shame the hamlet back to life, exposing the corruption that led to its downfall.
Meanwhile, townsfolks gather with a new plan to make everything all right, but the area children are distractingly attached to the corn crops. Those kids are creepy from the jump, led by the cartoonishly wicked Eden (Kate Moyer). Their idea of fun and games could get somebody hurt, and there’s few parents around to lasso them in.
“You did sin, didn’t ya?”
Watch this creepy exclusive clip from the new film adaptation of Stephen King’s Children of the Corn. 🧒 🌽 pic.twitter.com/QtYsSKE4FI
— IGN (@IGN) February 24, 2023
The film’s modest FX budget is plain to see, but “Corn” deserves credit for applying real-world concerns into the mix. The townsfolk are hurting, and bitter, and that’s palpable during the first act.
Kampouris delivers a dutiful Final Girl-style character, but no one else leaves a mark beyond her and Moyer’s Eden.
The film, wrapped in 2020 but allegedly shelved due to the pandemic, boasts a choppy final cut suggesting plenty was left behind. It’s hard to see how injecting any of the discarded elements could salvage the fright-free affair.
The film’s lack of depth robs it of some much-needed texture. The villagers are uniformly one-note, mocking the children early on before regretting that tone. That leaves the bloodshed, which is considerable but rarely sends our pulses afire.
A vague, but undeniable, slam against the faithful also makes its way into the saga. Shocking.
Much of “Children of the Corn” makes no sense, a distracting element that means there’s less tension required. Bo seems like a capable heroine, but she keeps missing chances to do something about the threat in play.
HiT or Miss: “Children of the Corn” has drifted further away from the source material, leaving a generic shocker without enough ties to Stephen King’s imagination.