Sunday, March 6, 2016

The Children (1980) - Review - @BrandonCSites

The Children (1980) **
D: Max Kalmanowicz
C: Martin Shakar, Gil Rogers, Gale Garnett, Shannon Bolin, Tracy Griswold, Joy Glaccum, Peter Maloney

Plot Synopsis: Gas leaking from a nuclear-power plant turns children into zombies who burn those they touch.

Review: With The Children, we have one of those premises that's both ridiculous and clever all at the same time. Most people will laugh at the idea of radio active children who cause their parents to melt into a pile of nothingness from simply hugging them, but, on the other hand, that very premise will pique the interest of most horror fans. It's a bold idea and bold ideas, whether good or bad, make for arresting entertainment.

When it comes to delivering on that premise, the introductory scenes, involving the kids riding on a school bus, evoke the nostalgia of child hood, of being young. The toxic fog, that transforms the kids into radio active monsters, captures the vibe of those creaky horror movies of yesteryear. The exaggerated makeup effects, that's applied to the kid's to convey evil, has an old school charm. Even the story, while ridiculous, also taps into something creepy, because after the kids are turned into radio active monsters, they're no longer human. They're evil by products that can't be reasoned with, yet, you can't distance yourself from the memory of what the kid was like before being transformed into a monster.

The Children is successful at pulling you in, but maintaining interest is another matter. The first time we've seen one of these deadly hugs and the aftermath that ensures, it makes for an eye catching moment, The second time around, it's entertaining, but since we've already seen it once, it lacks the power to captivate us like it did the first time. After this happens a third, a forth, a fifth time, it becomes repetitious. The film is left repeating itself until they arrive at a finale, that's a given, involving the kids and parents coming face to face one final time.

The very premise is both a blessing and curse. It's the hook that draws you in, but once in, it's not enough to sustain an entire feature length movie. [R] 93 minutes.

AKA: The Children of Ravensback

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