‘Children of the Corn’ 2023 Review

"Every Parents Nightmare"

I have been a Stephen King fan for as long as I can remember. Children of the Corn was always a favorite short story of mine, but one of the least loved films by his fans. So, when I heard there was a new version coming out, I was afraid to be excited about it. but interested to see if this film would be better than the first bunch.

I must admit when I saw the original back in 1984, I liked it, but I was just a kid. When I watched it as an adult, I found it to be silly and it didn’t really hold up. But this new one… well I kinda like it!

To be honest, Children of the Corn is a film I always wanted to be remade. I always thought that films that deal with the horrible things we do to our environment, and the revenge by children for terrible parenting, both make powerful horror stories. I think the newest adaptation is trying to be relevant to those subjects, but even though I enjoyed the film, it fell a bit short of my hopeful expectations.

Written and directed by Kurt Wimmer, this newest reimagining still has a lot going for it, especially in the cinematic and gore departments, even if it’s not a perfect film.

The film took many years to finally get out in the world thanks to Covid. 2023’s Children Of The Corn went into production in Australia in May 2020, forcing the shoot to take “hundreds of measures” to keep people from catching the then-novel coronavirus. So, I’m sure it became a labor of love for Wimmer to get it off the shelf and into the theaters.

Producer Lucas Foster was quoted as saying that this film is a totally new adaptation to King’s story and has “almost nothing to do with the original” and that Wimmer, “went back to the story and free-associated from there.” An interesting way to write. But the script ended up straying quite far away from the original story.

Synopsis: Possessed by a spirit in a dying cornfield, a psychopathic twelve-year-old girl named Eden recruits the other children in her small Nebraskan town to go on a bloody rampage and kill all the adults, and anyone else who opposes her.

Even though there is a totally new spin on the original story, we are again opening with death. A young teen named Boyd (Rory Potter) comes out of the corn, tells a girl playing in the yard that “nothing really dies in the corn.” then goes inside an orphanage and massacres all the adults. In a ridiculously stupid attempt to catch the killer kid, some local farmers pipe in an anesthetic gas for farm animals, but inadvertently kill all the children inside. Why use gas to knock out a crazy kid, if you don’t know how to use it? Right of the bat I wanted to kill all those stupid adults myself.

The small town they all live in, Rylstone, is a dying place. Stores going out of business, corn fields rotting, and kids completely out of control. Local farmer and father Robert Williams, (Callan Mulvey) talked others in town to team up with a huge corporation who promised they’d become super rich if they used their growth products on their corn. Instead of making them rich it killed the corn, leaving it black and dusty, and putting everyone into a dire situation. Now the townies are voting to sell out and collect money from a government program to NOT grow corn, and are planning to cut it all down.

The only problem is a group of kids who want to save “he who walks in the rows” and decide to take the town over any way they can. The corn god is sick and needs to eat, and the leader of the kids, Eden, (Kate Moyer) is going to make sure he gets the blood he needs to survive.

The parents go on trial and don’t fair well. At that point the kids move on to their own form of justice. But they have a problem, one of their own, Robert’s daughter Bo (Elena Kampouris) does not agree, so she tries to stop the kids and save the parents. The fight between good and evil has begun.

It’s not a complicated story line, so I really don’t want to share much more. Something needs to be left for you to discover. I will say that despite being considered a horror film, it feels a bit more supernatural than straight horror. I was surprised to see an actual monster, because honestly the kids were doing pretty good on their own. Adults always underestimate kids!

The cinematography was wonderfully done, and it has a lovely aesthetic. Beautifully shot, the colors on the farm are gorgeous, the corn waving in the wind, glowing in sunset hues, the blood glistening red. A beautiful horror movie you ask? Well red also means some bloody great special effects. The mostly young cast were amazing. Much better than any of the previous COTC films.

This version of Children of the Corn could have been quite a corny tale, (sorry) so I was surprised that I liked it. Other than the confusing need to put a CGI monster in, when the kids were doing great on their own, I think its biggest problem is using the original name. It’s not very much like the Stephen King story, except for killer kids and corn. Another name might bring people in that haven’t giggled over the years when they thought of the first film.

No matter what you think of any of the previous COTC films, trust me, it’s time to venture into the corn field again. Based on the short story by Stephen King, Children of the Corn (2023) is a chilling new re-telling for a whole new generation that opens in theaters on March 3, 2023, and will be available On Demand and Digital on March 21, 2023.

Photos compliments of RLJE Films

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