ARROW IN THE HEAD REVIEWS

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The Children (2009)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Tom Shankland

Starring:
Eva Birthistle/Elaine
Hannah Tointon/Casey
Rachel Shelley/Chloe
Raffiella Brooks/Leah
PLOT-CRUNCH
Two couples with brats in tow hook up at some cabin in the woods to celebrate Christmas. They get one hell of a present when some vague virus infects the kids and turns them into murderous tots. Nothing you wouldn’t see at any daycare on a good day.
THE LOWDOWN

Bye-bye Mummy.- Miranda

THE CHILDREN, THE CHILDREN, THE CHILDREN, everybody and their uncles anally violated pooch has been telling me that the film is all that and a bag of severed limbs. Yesterday I finally found an hour and half to spare and inserted the DVD into my player, knowing damn well that the overhype I got about this flick may play against it – but low and behold, this Brit bitch delivered the spanks and then some!

Co-written and directed by Tom Shankland (who was behind the uneven WAZ), and based on a story by Paul Andrew Williams (who wrote and directed The Cottage), THE CHILDREN hit where it hurts. The film brilliantly set its stage, introducing ordinary and flawed people, in an ordinary situation and then slowly but surely pulled the rug from under me to back-hand me like the cunt that I am. I truly admired the film’s slow burn approach to its narrative. It took about an hour for this puppy to crank into full gear and that was all good with me. The first hour of build-up was imbued with so much dread and oppression that by the time the hammer swung down I was owned hardcore. For those of you looking for a genre flick that knows how to do suspense right, look no further cause you just found it. 

The potent cinematography on hand surely helped in augmenting the sense of uneaseof the picture. Loved them many shots of the desolate, snow laced surroundings (shades of The Shining) and although I think they meant more than what I got out of it, I esteemed the many close ups of “shinny” things in the picture. Close up on shiny snow, a spoon, melting ice, a toy gun…was it an aesthetic choice or did it mean something more? Not sure. Which brings me to another aspect I dug about this one: its ambiguity. It hinted at a lot of things and didn’t bother giving me explanations. In some cases it can be frustrating; in this case it was a engrossing. Did the messed up radio signal mean that the end of the world was going down? Did the shiny objects trigger the kids to kill? Don’t know, but the aura of mystery around this one, stimulated my noggin which is something that happens rarely, specially on a blind date or on a date period yet alone on the screen.

Another plus was how the film slyly played with the whole “Can parents recognize their children becoming dangerous and be able to do what they have to do” question. Remember in Pet Semetary when Gauge interacted with his dad after having killed his mom and the dude was uber conflicted? Well think of that but times 20. The Children was all about that jive, parents pitted with the unthinkable: their little angels being angels no more. What do you with that? How do you process that emotionally and do the right thing? That question and its answer as displayed in the film made for a gripping theme, one that never got old and that made sure to kick my ass when applied. Add to all that greasing; credible acting by all, children that felt real hence jacking the impact of the story, brilliant sound design that amplified the suspense of the film and the constant sense of uneasiness ( I loved how they mixed a high pitched scream in there), striking shot compositions, a clever used of random quick cut editing, and an ending that hit home and you get an obscure gem that’s worth discovering.

On the downside, I would have liked to have known more about the adults in terms of WHO they were as people – may have made this already visceral ride even more nail biting. A couple of plot holes/the film not being clear as to its chain of events arose to peeve me a tad as well. Not sure if it was a lack of attention as to details on the filmmakers part or me being a moron. If I ever figure it out, I’ll take a one page in Variety and let ya know. And was I alone in thinking that some of the kills were executed in an awkward fashion? Would take me out of the film now and again. Finally, I was on and off as to the parent’s reaction to the mean happenings. Sometimes I felt they reacted right, other times felt they reacted in dumb ways to serve the plot. But that’s just me. On the whole though, THE CHILDREN was a grimly shot, suspenseful and often disturbing essay in kids at their worse. It’s creepy, scary and unsettling. What else do ya want out of a horror film? You going to have kids after this one? I WON’T! F*ck that noise!
GORE
You know what, the kills here so took me aback, I didn’t see them coming. So I’ll give ya the same luxury and not spoil them for ya. I will say this; the film is very violent and yes, you will see red.
T & A
We get some chick in undies fun and that’s it. I got a semi out of it, that’s as far as that went…
BOTTOM LINE
THE CHILDREN acted like a celluloid sucker punch. I had an idea of what the film was going to be about but didn’t see the manner in which it would go about it coming– hence I was blindsided and sent to the mat. Beautifully shot, paced for maximum whoopass, sporting a tantalizing ambiguous aura and though provoking on some levels – this bad boy f*cked me up and gave me a buck and half of quality horror-tainment. Further character development would have been nice, some of the gore felt off to me and sometimes the film served the plot too much, sacrificing common sense in the priceless but on a whole THE CHILDREN was a nice surprise. A tight and genuinely frightening horror film. As horror fan, I couldn’t ask for more.
BULL'S EYE
Paul Andrew Williams' next project as a writer and director is Cherry Tree Lane (2010)

Tom Shankland 's next film isMarple: The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side.

SPOOK THE CHILDREN OFFICIAL SITE HERE

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5:56PM on 06/29/2010

LOVED IT

This was actually one of my favorite movies to come out in 2009.
I found it to be UBER creepy and suspenseful as all f*ck! I liked the small cast and found the acting to be solid all around. I believed each person. The one that stood out to me the most was the young heroine of Casey, ably played by Hannah Tointon. She was amazing in the role. She took a role that could've been annoying and/or bitchy and made me care and root for her. She ended up being a great heroine.
The four
This was actually one of my favorite movies to come out in 2009.
I found it to be UBER creepy and suspenseful as all f*ck! I liked the small cast and found the acting to be solid all around. I believed each person. The one that stood out to me the most was the young heroine of Casey, ably played by Hannah Tointon. She was amazing in the role. She took a role that could've been annoying and/or bitchy and made me care and root for her. She ended up being a great heroine.
The four parents were all well acted and I liked them. But further development would have been nice. We didn't learn too much about the four of them. The teenage heroine Casey was the best developed character in the movie. But each actor brought something likable to their role and made me care.
The children were all played realistically and in the end terrified me because of that. The suspense was nonstop and the action was amazing. The editing was so chaotic in this film and it worked! The score was great and helped the movie along.
It wasn't a gory movie per se, but it WAS violence and you WILL see blood. This whole movie was about the taboo of killing children. I relished it! I absolutely loved this film and I loved the major balls it had. For people who want nudity, you don't really get any, but the blonde mom strips down to her underwear. They're all fairly good looking people, but for the gay horror fans like me, it is Robbie who stands out. I found him to be a MAJOR hottie :). If he was younger, he could call me sometime.
Any flaws? Not too many. Granted, some of the character choices were a bit odd and again I wouldn't have minded more character development from the adults. The one character of Jonah got on my nerves BIG time and I couldn't wait for him to die. As much as i loved the editing, it did get on my nerves at time and I would have liked if the kills were more...idk visceral?
Overal, you get one of my favorite movies of 2009.
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8:23AM on 02/27/2010
So profoundly awful I was unable to sit through the whole thing. That rarely happens, if I start watching something I usually finish it, but not this time.
So profoundly awful I was unable to sit through the whole thing. That rarely happens, if I start watching something I usually finish it, but not this time.
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6:07PM on 02/10/2010
I guess working at Blockbuster does have its perks... I saw this jewel at least six months ago!

I'm always passing The Children on to people. Nothing scares the piss out of me more than messed up kids, and this flick was right on! Yeah, there's not a whole lot of plot to it, but it doesn't lead you on to think there's some great explanation for everything.

Kids go crazy, kids f**k some sh!t up!

Also in last year's Ghost House Underground releases was the Offspring. There's even less of
I guess working at Blockbuster does have its perks... I saw this jewel at least six months ago!

I'm always passing The Children on to people. Nothing scares the piss out of me more than messed up kids, and this flick was right on! Yeah, there's not a whole lot of plot to it, but it doesn't lead you on to think there's some great explanation for everything.

Kids go crazy, kids f**k some sh!t up!

Also in last year's Ghost House Underground releases was the Offspring. There's even less of a plot/explanation as to what's going on, but I hear the book fills in the gaps.
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11:33AM on 02/08/2010
Your critique is always right on the button with me! While i really dug this movie, I was also aware of how much was left unexplained and simply unfinished, for instance, what EXACTLY was going on with the Uncle and the teen girl? It seemed like he was hitting on her, but they didn't go anywhere with it, or explain his actions. Why build that plot and do nothing with it?
Your critique is always right on the button with me! While i really dug this movie, I was also aware of how much was left unexplained and simply unfinished, for instance, what EXACTLY was going on with the Uncle and the teen girl? It seemed like he was hitting on her, but they didn't go anywhere with it, or explain his actions. Why build that plot and do nothing with it?
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