The Children – UK, 2008 – reviews

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‘You brought them into the world. They will take you out’

The Children is a 2008 British horror thriller film written and directed by Tom Shankland (WΔZ), based on a story by Paul Andrew Williams. It stars Eva Birthistle, Stephen Campbell Moore, Jeremy Sheffield, Rachel Shelley and Hannah Tointon.

Casey (Hannah Tointon), a rebellious teenage girl, is travelling with her mother Elaine (Eva Birthistle), her stepfather Jonah (Stephen Campbell Moore), and her two younger half-siblings, Miranda (Eva Sayer) and Paulie (William Howes), to spend the New Year holiday at the secluded home of Elaine’s sister, Chloe (Rachel Shelley). Chloe, her husband Robbie (Jeremy Sheffield), and their two young children, Nicky (Jake Hathaway) and Leah (Raffiella Brooks), welcome their visitors. Shortly after arriving, Paulie begins vomiting, which the adults believe is due to travel sickness.

As the night progresses, Nicky and Leah also begin to show symptoms of an illness. Leah’s vomit has strange bacteria in it. As everyone goes to bed, the family cat, Jinxie, goes missing. Casey, back at the woods, makes plans with her friends to escape and attend a party when she hears Jinxie snarl. However, she is not able to locate the cat. By the next day, all of the children have become infected…

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Reviews:

” … the violence is skilfully enough executed to make you think you see much more than you actually do and the fundamentally disturbing and creepy aspects about such random and unpredictable child-centric mayhem are always present, no matter how ludicrously intense and darkly humorous things get.” Phelim O’Neill, The Guardian

“This taboo-shattering movie taps in to primal fears about the unknown-ability of children, its blood-stained virgin snow and insidious terror recalling cruel fairy tales and ‘demon child’ movies such as The Omen. Shankland’s approach is oblique rather than graphic, but these icy chills will send shivers down your spine.” Nigel Floyd, Time Out London
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The Children honestly creeps you out and makes you feel queasy long before the kids’ murderous tendencies truly break loose. Elementsthat contribute to increase the already quite high level of exasperation include the isolated country setting, eerie soundtrack and – of course – the misleadingly cherubic faces of the child actors.” Cult Reviews

“Filled with dread, heavy with atmosphere and steadfast in its refusal to play it safe in both its narrative and visual construction, it’s most certainly one of the most effective killer kid films to grace the modern screen.” Gareth Jones, This is Horror

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