Whenever a movie sits on the shelf for almost three years, you know something is up. That this Children of the Corn remake skipped the entirety of the pandemic release model, when many a film opted to just take advantage of folks stuck at home, really says something. Now, the franchise inspired by the Stephen King short story has long since past its sell by date, but this new crack at it is somehow a nadir for the series. Let the crops just die at this point. A 2020 release being dumped in 2023 just means audiences had to wait a ridiculous amount of time to be disappointed. Honestly? This one isn’t getting released, it escaped.
Children of the Corn fails as anything resembling a competent fright flick, veering from tone to tone, from undeveloped theme to underdeveloped theme, leaving no impression in the process. Considering how forgiving the horror genre can be, that nothing goes right here is almost an accomplishment in and of itself. It’s hard to make something this actively bad.
This remake begins by introducing us to Eden (Kate Moyer), one of the orphans at her group home in Rylstone, Nebraska. She’s playing outside, but soon after her brother, clearly disturbed, emerged from a cornfield and promptly goes on a killing spree. From there, we meet out protagonist, teen Boleyn “Bo” Williams (Elena Kampouris). She’s determined to get out of Rylstone, but before she does that, she wants to make sure the adults in the town don’t make a decision about their land that they’ll regret. Instead, she’ll regret staying.
At a town meeting run by Bo’s father Robert (Callan Mulvey), a vote is interrupted by Eden, saying the children of the town need to be consulted. Something is wrong with her, and when they don’t pay heed to her warnings, the murders begin. Bo is determined to stop Eden, but with an army of kids at her side, as well as some kind of supernatural powers, she might be unstoppable. That doesn’t even include what might be lurking in the corn (don’t ask…it’s especially bad). Nothing here is surprising, nor is it at all exciting. Even the gore is meh, leaving you to focus on the plot, which is not good for the film, to say the least.
There is largely not any good acting here, with one exception, but it’s hard to blame the cast. They simply have nothing to work with. Kate Moyer at least is decently creepy, but the movie just gives Elena Kampouris an awful role. Their face-offs never work because it’s impossible to invest in either of the characters. Aside from the aforementioned Callan Mulvey, the cast also includes Rafferty Grierson, Bruce Spence, and more. No one gets away unscathed.
Filmmaker Kurt Wimmer is so much better than this, or at least I thought he was. A decent genre voice, he shows no feel for the material, or really any interest in the work. The direction is muddled and ugly, with some truly awful CGI, while the writing is somehow even worse. Stephen King has had a better track record with his adaptations of late, but this is one of the poorest ones, to date.
This Children of the Corn remake should have stayed hidden in the fields, since the crops have gone very, very rotten. As far as King interpretations go, this is the bottom of the barrel. Avoid it at all costs. Trust me, this one is way past its sell by date.