MOVIE REVIEW: Children Of The Corn: Genesis

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Title: Children Of The Corn: Genesis (Unrated)
Genre: Horror
Studio: Dimension Extreme
Release: September 2011

Of the many horror sagas that have both graced and plagued Hollywood over the last 50 years, few have come and gone as often as The Children Of The Corn. The original was fantastic, a true original for the genre, but the sequels, mostly direct-to-video, have continually fallen short of anything worthy of praise. Dimension Extreme is hoping to change this in 2011 with the (direct-to-dvd) release of Children Of The Corn: Genesis, but unfortunately a decent budget and good intentions just aren’t enough to go the distance.

Though it probably won’t surprise anyone, Children Of The Corn: Genesis opens in the past. We meet a soldier presumably returning from Vietnam just as he discovers home is not what he hoped it would be. A party is setup and cake is out, but there’s a finger in the lemonade and a woman (most likely his mother) dead on the floor. Springing into action, our soldier draws his pistol and investigates his surroundings, only to find a semi-closed burlap corn sack sitting in the middle of an upstairs hallway. As he approaches, a child rises from the bag and disappears down the hallway. The pursuit of the child leads our soldier to find another body, this time a man with corn cobs shoved into his eye sockets (that’s not an exaggeration), before the child appears again to taunt the man by repeating the phrase “baby killer” again and again. Cue some Ring-like after effects, as well as a few visions of dead Vietnamese children, and things quickly become too much for our soldier to bare. He draws a pistol, puts it to his face, but is struck by a crucifix at the last minute and slips off the top of the stairs and out a window (which is nowhere near the top of the stairs and marks the first of many, and I mean many, errors in the film). Now on his back and barely alive, our soldier opens his eyes once more to behold a group of dead-eyed children staring blankly at him. He’s scared, he’s shaking, and then he’s dead. The title screen appears, nothing is explained, and this already short film (only 80 minutes Unrated) is 1/8 complete.

After we sit through a list of people who will probably soon wish they weren’t associated with this picture, we meet lovers Tim and Allie, one of which is pregnant (FORESHADOWING for this who’ve never seen a film), stranded “somewhere” in the California desert. They’re out of gas and low on supply so, as anyone would, they decide to wonder to the nearest (and conveniently f*cked up) farm house they can find. A strange man called Preacher answers, tells them he can’t help, and slams the door in their face. This causes the obviously frustrated pregnant girlfriend to flip, mentioning her pregnancy and how a miscarriage would be Preacher’s fault, and the man opens the door again, offering them shelter because it’s “the Christian thing to do.”

Now as you can imagine, things are not what they seem on this farm. Preacher is obviously overly-interested in Allie’s baby and his wife, Helen, is clearly keeping a stash of secret money (and presumably drugs) from her husband. She even flirts with Tim while he’s making calls, asking him to take her with them, but never reveals why she seeks freedom. Tim and Allie both disregard these things, which is understandable because it’s easier to be creeped out than melting in the heat, but their stupidity over their obviously disturbed surroundings is something that instantly causes a disconnect between viewers and the film. They don’t even mention how weird things seem until day has turned to night, which signifies HOURS of deliberation before deciding crashing with strangers in the desert might not be a good idea. I’m all for playing dumb, but this couple is from the city, who from LA would spend HOURS in the desert with COMPLETE STRANGERS without a single mention of “hey, this is weird, right?”

By the time our couple addresses their surroundings, viewers may notice the film is 1/4 over. So far, nothing, and I mean nothing, has occurred to terrify or sustain your interest beyond the obviously deranged Preacher and his wife, but it’s now nightfall and tension quickly begins to build.

Allie can’t sleep. Apparently, men who go by “Preacher,” live in the desert and have mail-order brides make her uneasy (after a couple hours of course), so she decides to get some fresh air and use the outhouse (something completely justified in the film, even though they have running water and a phone). Noises in the dark spark her interest in the farm and, as all females in these flicks do, she decides to explore the barn. 100 Candles, glimpses of bondage, and a huge cross later, it becomes clear there to our heroes (finally) that something is definitely going on at this house. She stumbles out of the barn in time to hear screams from another nearby building, which leads her to discover what she believes to be a child trapped in a shed. She flees to the house, grabs Tim, and things finally go begin to change from exposition to rising action (roughly 1/2 into the film).

Allie convinces Tim to investigate his surroundings and as you can guess, things go from weird to downright disturbing. A child is following them, not interacting, but watching their movements. They can’t speak to it, hell, Tim never doesn’t even see it at first, but a trail of bloody foot and handprints tip them (and us) off. Unable to deal with this, Tim and Allie confront Preacher, who then tells them to tale of what is really happening (AKA the origin of The Children Of The Corn) on the property just moments before things conveniently go from bad to worse and the true (attempt at) terror begins (if you count a body count of 3 as “terror”).

At the risk of spoiling it for those fools that choose to pursue this film, I’ll leave the remaining twenty minutes up to your imagination. That said, don’t get your hopes up. Children Of The Corn: Genesis not only fails to present anything new or actually explain/resolve the premise, it also lifts the ENTIRE climax sequence directly from Bad Boys 2 (think highway chase sequence).

When dealing with direct-to-video horror, never expect much. Though some indie gems are sure to be found, sequels of once (and I mean that literally, once) great franchises are almost always a letdown. Children Of The Corn: Genesis is a complete waste of film and funding that serves no purpose other than to remind us all why we stopped caring about the series in the first place. Avoid at all costs and if you can’t, be sure to come prepared with a lot of liquor for amusement or pillows for sleep. This one is a dud.

Review written by: James Shotwell

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the founder of Under The Gun Review. He loves writing about music and movies almost as much as he loves his two fat cats. He's also the co-founder of Antique Records and the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. You should probably follow him on Twitter.

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