Of all the possible Stephen King adaptations, a reboot of Children of the Corn may seem like the most baffling. After an original film from 1984 that isn’t remembered well, eight sequels, and a made-for-Syfy remake, a new retelling of King’s short story feels unnecessary. Regardless, Children of the Corn is actually an entertaining and gruesome horror flick, despite being extremely cheesy and unintentionally funny. If quality cinema is what you seek, look elsewhere, but if a silly horror film with some genuinely frightening sequences doesn’t sound so bad, Children of the Corn may be the perfect popcorn flick.
Children of the Corn follows the inhabitants of a small Nebraska town called Rylstone. After a meeting is called to get rid of the cornfields surrounding Rylstone, strong-willed teenager Boleyn (Elena Kampouris) decides she wants to save her town’s beloved crop. However, things take a dark turn when Boleyn enlists the help of Eden (Kate Moyer), a young girl who has a very strange connection to the corn. Soon, against Boleyn’s wishes, Eden gathers up the children and wreaks havoc on the adult population of Rylstone. Boleyn will have to fight to save her town from the murderous children and an unknown being living in the cornfields that Eden protects.
Children of the Corn gets off to an extremely rough start. The opening is clunky and hard to follow, setting the film up for disaster. However, the movie soon starts to find its footing, becoming relentlessly entertaining. Once the story starts to come together, which is a prequel to the original film with many tweaks, it becomes a trainwreck that is almost impossible to look away from. Equipped with a goofy CGI monster and plenty of cringy dialogue, Children of the Corn manages to become a so-bad-it’s-good exploration into schlock. Although, the film does manage to be genuinely shocking at times. For instance, the children become horribly vicious, and some death sequences will linger in the mind, especially some mass murder scenes that are nothing short of horrific.
Children of the Corn attempts to be a commentary on the agricultural industry, which it fails at. When this movie attempts to be serious, it doesn’t work, but it has a weird camp factor in the spirit of movies like Showgirls, The Wicker Man, or The Room, which makes this reboot feel unique. The film’s second half does not let up with the grisly death sequences, combining silliness with grit, causing this movie to feel like an accidental piece of art. Writer and director Kurt Wimmer may have had no idea he was making a schlock film with major cult status potential while filming, but that is just what he did.
While the film’s entertainment value mostly comes from how ridiculous it is, the death scenes are not the only aspect of this movie to take seriously. Moyer delivers a layered performance as a little girl consumed by evil. She always comes across as believable, and the character feels lived in, which can be difficult to do for a child actor in a role like this. Kampouris is also quite memorable as a likable protagonist who is easy to root for.
Children of the Corn may not be a movie that anyone needed, but now that it exists, it should be enjoyed as the campy schlock-fest that it is. For horror fans who love a daft good time, Children of the Corn will be a riot. The film makes the source material goofier than it ever was (which is saying a lot), with ludicrous decisions to add CGI jump-scares to underscore the story’s supernatural element. However, there is a sort of old-school feel that isn’t hard to fall in love with, like a Dimension Films straight-to-DVD horror sequel that shouldn’t work but is terribly enjoyable. Children of the Corn isn’t a classically good film, but for fans of trashy cinema, this reboot will quell a certain kind of hunger.