Children of the Corn, 2023.
Written and Directed by Kurt Wimmer.
Starring Elena Kampouris, Kate Moyer, Callan Mulvey, Bruce Spence, Stephen Hunter, Erika Heynatz, Ashlee Juergens, Sisi Stringer, Orlando Schwerdt, Anna Samson, Joe Klocek, Andrew S. Gilbert, Brian Meegan, Mike Duncan, Alyla Browne, and Jayden McGinlay.
The film describes the events leading up to, and including, the massacre of the adults of a small town in Nebraska by their children, after the adults’ irresponsibility ruins the crop and the children’s future.
Let’s clarify one thing before getting into this review of Children of the Corn proper: although the film is getting a brief theatrical release before its streaming arrival on Shudder, technically, this is not a 2023 release.
This reboot of the beloved Stephen King short story (courtesy of writer and director Kurt Wimmer, who directed their great Christian Bale cult classic Equilibrium years ago) was filmed during the 2020 global health crisis and had a tiny release in Sarasota, Florida, later that year, just in time for Halloween. That begs the question, what took so long to get the movie out to the rest of the world? To put it bluntly, and by no means is this an exaggeration, Children of the Corn is an all-timer horrendous Stephen King adaptation and a laughably bad horror film.
Still set on a Nebraska farm, tragedy quickly strikes, leaving many children dead (the narrative is a prequel to the original film). The film also desperately attempts social relevancy, as the adults are also responsible for nearly letting all the crops die, thus hurting the lives of future generations, especially since they don’t want to fight for it. This causes young Eden (Kate Moyer), who has been possessed by something out there in the cornfield, to gather up her friends and start murdering the adults.
Meanwhile, there is 17-year-old Boleyn (Elena Kampouris) who, much like many activist teenagers in real life around that age, wants to fight for justice levelheaded and, most importantly, without murdering adults. Before knowing what the children are up to, she contacts a journalist to observe and run a story on the crops, which does not go as planned. Boleyn’s brother is also mad that she plans to attend college elsewhere, so he sides with the children.
Admittedly, the setup is intriguing in its attempt to make the point that, aside from these bloodthirsty 12-year-olds, it is the younger generation that will have to step up and right the ship (the movie still takes place in the eighties, but the metaphor to modern times couldn’t be any more distinct). The issue is that once the killing starts, which is dreadfully unconvincing to such a degree that the filmmakers tried to hide it through editing but mostly just wind up with a horrifically edited film, that analogy falls apart and becomes meaningless.
There’s nothing of substance here, which wouldn’t be a problem if that wasn’t on Kurt Wimmer’s mind. The film turns into a tired retread of Children of the Corn tropes that are simultaneously tedious to sit through, outlandishly hilarious considering it’s impossible to suspend disbelief, and certainly unmemorable regarding violence and kills.
As Boleyn tries to survive the night, Children of the Corn also takes a big swing and a miss, something nothing could have ever prepared me for. There is a CGI corn monster here that not only looks ghastly from a visual standpoint but might be the lamest possible concept one could toss in here to revive a franchise that has never been particularly good and should have stayed dead.
Alas, nothing stays dead in the corn, and the same applies to franchises that need to stay buried. However, Kurt Wimmer may have found a way to do that with this misfire. At least the kids looked like they were having fun…
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ / Movie: ★
Robert Kojder is a member of the Chicago Film Critics Association and the Critics Choice Association. He is also the Flickering Myth Reviews Editor. Check here for new reviews, follow my Twitter or Letterboxd, or email me at MetalGearSolid719@gmail.com