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Children of the Corn II: The Final Sacrifice (DVD)

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    2 Reviews
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      12.06.2010 13:31
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      Unintentionally amusing budget horror

      When the bodies of several missing adults are found in the town of Gatlin, Nebraska, everyone is flummoxed because it seems as though the only people who could have been involved are the children of the town, who seemingly killed their parents and are obsessed with the fields of corn. Yet the authorities don't believe this, and are busy trying to persuade everyone that the children must be innocent, moving them to new homes to start a new life. Journalist John Garrett travels to the town with his son Danny, hoping to get a story. They stay in a house with one of the orphaned children, who is withdrawn and very strange. The murders continue, each of which seem to be linked with the town's children. Danny falls in love with a local girl, Lacey, and is determined to stick around, although his relationship with his father is poor. Yet it seems that this could be the worst decision he has ever made, especially when the children try to win Danny over to their side. Can the Garretts work out what is going on and manage to stay alive at the same time?

      The original Children of the Corn was based on a short story by Steven King. This sequel was made eight years later, in 1992, directed by David Price. To say that it is a budget horror, with the emphasis on budget, is an understatement. Everything about it screams budget, from the acting to the special effects. Nevertheless, if watched in the right frame of mind, it is cheesy enough to be amusing viewing. The concept to the whole film, about fields of corn that have a mind of their own, is utterly ridiculous; but then the film doesn't really pretend to be anything but. Fans of budget horror will probably get a kick out of watching it, but it really isn't a film that is worth making a lot of effort to see. There isn't really any need to have watched the first film in the series, this is a stand-alone story on its own.

      The main actors, Terrence Knox and Paul Scherrer, as John and Danny, give reasonable performances compared to the rest of the cast. Neither of them are brilliant, but they do the job required. Paul Scherrer is slightly annoying at times as the typical stroppy teen who thinks life revolves about him, but then that is probably exactly what was intended. Both Danny and John are given love interests, which is supposedly to give some depth to their characters, but as they do nothing more than roll around kissing, it doesn't do a great deal for them. Terrence Knox is perhaps a little on the boring side as John; he certainly could have put a little more effort into the role to improve it. He's certainly not a face I will remember in the future - however, compared with some of the other members of the cast, who were horrendous, that is a good thing.

      The actor/character who stands out the most is Marty Terry, who plays sisters Mrs Burke and Mrs West. As Mrs Burke (or was it Mrs West?), she plays an elderly lady who is convinced that the children are evil and have something to do with the spate of killings. Determined to escape their evil, she is intending to leave the area by literally putting her house on the back of a trailer and taking it with her. Unfortunately, her acting ability is terrible and her fear comes across as hysterical and much too exaggerated. It is quite funny at first, but after a while, it becomes painful to watch. Thankfully, both she and her sister die in two of the funniest ways that I've seen in a long time - made all the more palatable by the fact that the characters are such a pain in the neck. I'm not sure that this was what was intended though! Micah, played by Ryan Bollman, who is the leader of the children is marginally better, but mainly because he doesn't shout and stomp around until the end - much of the time, he just looks miserable and moody.

      The story really is a stupid one, although there is a possibility that it would make more sense had I seen the first film. I doubt it though. The children are worshippers of the corn, which has the ability to come to life and attack people who have annoyed it. This is portrayed in the film largely by animated sequences in which the corn is seen becoming evil and committing murder. It could have been quite effective - fields full of plants that are taller than the average human are quite creepy, presumably because anything could be hiding in the midst without being seen. Nevertheless, it doesn't really work as a serious attempt at persuading the viewer that such a thing could happen, mainly because of the special effects. Resorting to animation is never the best way to go in the midst of a film that is not animated. As a comedy, it works a little better, although it would have been better if the comedy angle had been worked on a little harder.

      The rest of the special effects are fairly poor, although it's perhaps not surprising for a film that is nearly twenty years old. The dead bodies we see at the beginning of the film don't look at all realistic, nor does the dead hand that Danny and girlfriend Lacey come across half way through a snogging session. Probably the worst of all though is seeing Mrs West (or is it Burke) being catapulted in her wheelchair through the window of the local diner. It is so obvious that it is a dummy and not a real person that it is laughable. I appreciate that the actress probably didn't want to be thrown through a glass window, but there are ways and means of making it more realistic that the director clearly didn't think of here. However, again, this adds to the comedy and this time, the humour, whether intended or not, really does work.

      There is a rating of 18 on the film. This is probably debatable - it isn't anything like as gory as Hostel or the Saw films, and the fact that it is so silly, it's funny, really takes the sting out of it. A 15 would have been more than adequate. However, if you don't like your teens watching this sort of film, then you would do well to keep them away from it.

      Apart from the usual audio commentary, which I couldn't bring myself to listen to, the extras include a theatrical trailer, biographies of the cast members and a photo gallery.

      This is very clearly not a well-made film, either from the point of view of the production, acting, or the story. However, there is a niche for this sort of budget horror if you have a warped sense of humour (and I quite understand that the majority of people won't). You really need to enjoy comedy horror that isn't really supposed to be comic. If you don't, then you will want to stay well clear. Otherwise, it might just be worth a watch, but I'd recommend trying to see it for free rather than wasting any money on it. Three stars out of five.

      The DVD is available from play.com for £1.66. It is also available from Poundland.

      Classification: 18

      Running time: 92 minutes

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      • More +
        18.08.2000 18:01
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        Children of the Corn was bad enough but then they decide to make a sequel, Children of the Corn two is one of those films that makes me wonder why I sit and watch horror movies I know are going to be crap. Their up to part five now I think, but Ive only seen the first three. Once again the kids decide to kill of the sake of 'Him that walks behind the rows', Its set eight years after the first film and the police have just found the dead bodies of all the parents (The wind probably blew the smell all over the world), And most of the kids of Gatlin, Nebraska are hiding in the many corn fields surrounding the town. With the police or anyone else not knowing what really happened the kids are orphaned to local people living in the surrounding area (namely Hemingford), Lots of reportors turn up for the story enter John Garrett (Terrence Knox) and son Danny (Pal Scherrer) who head for Gatlin on a story and get caught up in this mess when an orphan named Micah (Ryan Bollman) is possessed by He Who Walks Behind The Rows. There is an old women who knows the kids are evil and they soon despatch of her, trying to get Danny to join their cult and follow he who walks behind the rows. Basically its streching a story too far, its dull, cheaply made and poorly written. The acting is non existent and only a couple of deaths are any good, it has the old boy falls out with day, Boy joins gang, Boy pretends to be in gang, Boy doublecrosses gang to save the day and dad storyline. Gave it a miss - BOMB - sorry thought I was maltin there for a minute.

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