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FILM REVIEW: Children of the Corn (2023)

Children of the Corn - New Release Review


Director: Kurt Wimmer

Starring: Elena Kampouris, Kate Moyer, Bruce Spence, Callan Mulvey


Written by: Kurt Wimmer

Produced by: John Baldecchi, Doug Barry, Lucas Foster

Cinematography by: Andrew Rowlands

Original Score by: Tim Count, Jacob Shea


Synopsis:

A group of orphaned children in a small town in Nebraska begin an uprise against the adults who are responsible for the failing crops.

Thoughts:

Here at The Fright Club NI, we have a monthly feature called King's Corner, written by the brilliant and beautiful Joseph McElroy. He covers all the Stephen King novel adaptions to the big and small screen, in order of release, and it always makes for a fantastic read. Of course me, being the silly man I am, thought a few months ago “Wouldn’t it be fun if I covered every 'Children of the Corn' film for the site and called it King's CORNer?” Now dear reader, let me just say after watching this latest remake, that I'm glad I dodged that metaphorical bullet for my own sanity and yours.



In this latest remake of the Stephen King short story, fan favourite character Issac is replaced by Eden Edwards (Kate Moyer). Eden leads the children of the town to join her planet-based cult, with the purpose of killing all the adults that wronged them. Now, the parents haven't wronged the children really (apart from being a touch strict), it’s the corn monster called “He Who Walks” who has been wronged as the adults in the town have abandoned looking after the crops. “He Who Walks” is of course this films version of the book's “He Who Walks Behind the Rows”, and this is where the first problem crops up. Instead of the monster being a shapeless creature that influences the children, in this film, it’s a Groot looking corn monster that stalks the fields. That's fine if you want to change things up but the film also wants to have it's cornbread and eat it too by making Eden this ruthless little tyrant. The problem is she has no real motive apart from the fact that "I AM CORN" told her to do it.

In the original story, Issac was a charismatic cult leader who you could believe was able to convince the dumb kids to go to such extreme lengths. Every time Eden showed up, it felt like the writer/director Kurt Wimmer (we’ll get back to him in a bit) instructed young Kate Moyer to play it like a 1940’s crime caper villain, but obviously with the actress being 12, she didn’t know what the fuck that meant. Also “He Who Walks” is a terrible name for a villain. It literally could be anybody with the ability to walk. “James Cornman” is my vote for a new name.



The rest of the cast really struggle with this terrible script. Known faces like Bruce Spence and Callan Mulvey can’t even save their scenes, thanks to clunky dialogue and bad editing choices. I feel especially sorry for Elena Kampouris, who plays the main protagonist Boleyn. She's really putting her heart and soul into this part but isn’t given anything interesting to do. Also, quick side note about Elena...they give her this hairstyle that makes her face look too small for her head and I couldn’t stop laughing at it the whole film. Director Kurt Wimmer is clearly out of his element here, blindly throwing everything at the wall and hoping something sticks. The basic story of 'Children of the Corn' has so many elements you could plough and weave into something else; the loss of youth, cruelty passed through generations, religious extremists. Unfortunately, Wimmer chose corn monster man.

I haven’t seen any other 'Children of the Corn' film apart from the original, so I don’t know if this plot point has been touched before, but it’d be nice to see a film where the children take on a bigger role. The original film adaptation had Issac and Malachi, two very memorable performances. This film has girl boss Eden, small face lady and the hohoho green giant.



After 11 previous entries, maybe this franchise has shucked it’s last cob. There was always a good kernel of an idea, but the series has been sucked dry. The butters dried up, the gravys gone cold and it’s all ready for the bin. 2023’s 'Children of the Corn' is a husk of its former self.



Verdict: ⭐️


- Adam Neeson


'Children of the Corn' is available to stream on Prime Video in the UK and on Shudder in the US

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