'The Children' is a tense and often shocking British chiller which treads familiar ground using children gone wrong as the main protagonists, leaving the adults at their mercy. Whilst the concept of the movie is very similar to that of 'Village of the Damned' and the 'Omen' this movie remains refreshingly different and whilst I wouldn't go as far as to say this movie is desperately original it has enough new ideas to hold its own.
The story is set in a remote cottage as two families unite for their Christmas holidays. In the beginning all is well and each family is enjoying the festivities, however, a strange sickness is effecting the children. In the beginning the symptoms are very subtle with the children showing odd behaviour and irritation, however as the story progresses the attitude of the children becomes a lot more vindictive and aggressive towards their parents. Initially the parents choose to blame one another rather than their own children, but before long, it become all too apparent what is happening. The problem they face then is can the stop it?
Whilst I didn't really know what to expect, I thoroughly enjoyed this movie.
The success of the movie comes from two factors, the first is that the movie is incredibly tense. I don't think that frightening is the word to describe it, although at times the movie does get quite creepy, but the set pieces involving the children often come with a large build up with a range of possible outcomes leaving you guessing as to what is going to happen, gripping you until the brutal final blow. This leads nicely onto the second point, the callous nature of the murders.
It would have been all to easy to have watered the violence down, in the interests of decency and all, however, this is not what we are after. The movie remains as sick as possible throughout with the children themselves committing the murders using what ever comes to hand.
The violence is not particularly gory but it is bloody. The realism throughout is genuinely shocking, especially the scenes of child 'harm'. Naturally you wouldn't want to see this in real life, but for the basis of the plot it was a welcome addition to the movie.
With the above firmly in place the movie pretty much runs itself. The acting is pretty good, especially from the children, and the range of characters do the job. The location is idyllic and of course blood on snow is always a welcome touch!
Overall this movie is one to watch. It won't blow you away as the plot is pretty linear, but for what it tries to do it succeeds. The eerie subject matter coupled with the visceral way in which it is exhibited is sure to shock and entertain.