Children of the Corn: Genesis
children of the corn | children of the corn: genesis | joel soisson | kelen coleman | tim rock | billy drago | cult | ritual | pagan | lovecraftian | united states | thriller | based on | short story | stephen king | supernatural | barbara nedeljakova | duane whitaker
Film: Children of the Corn: Genesis
Director: Joel Soisson
Writer: Joel Soisson
Starring: Kelen Coleman, Tim Rock and Billy Drago
This is a movie that I picked up a while ago but wasn’t rushing to see it. I decided to finally watch this since the Children of the Corn franchise popped up on my Letterboxd feed of ones that I’m close to finishing, just hadn’t yet. I was intrigued when I saw that Billy Drago starred in this as he’s an actor that I know of, he’s usually decent. I was curious as to where this sequel would go.
Synopsis: a young couple try to free an imprisoned child with catastrophic results.
We start this back in 1973 as a soldier arrives back home after his service. It also alerts us that his family lives 20 miles out of Gatlin, Nebraska. His name is Cole (J.J. Banicki) and he discovers his family has been murdered by the children of the corn. He Who Walks Behind the Rows commanded it.
The movie then shifts us to the present where we have the young from the synopsis. They’re stranded in the California desert due to an issue with their radiator. There is Allie (Kelen Coleman) and Tim (Tim Rock). She is pregnant, so getting out of the heat is important. They see a nearby house and knock at the door. Preacher (Drago) answers, refusing to help at first. That is until Allie goes on a tirade, revealing her condition to him. Preacher cannot say no after that.
They are allowed inside and Preacher’s wife of Helen (Barbara Nedeljakova) serves them iced tea. That’s not all she has in mind. Tim makes calls to garages to see if they can get a tow. She comes on to him. He rebuffs it and goes back to the other room. The best plan ends up being staying the night with this couple and wait for Pritchett (Duane Whitaker) to give them a ride the following morning. There is just one rule, if you go to the outhouse, come right back.
Allie doesn’t listen and learns that there is a child being kept in one of the buildings. This child is played by Dusty Burwell. Learning of this starts a series of events. Allie believes the Preacher is doing bad things to this child. Tim wants proof before they do anything. Things get revealed between them, they may be true or there could be feelings. They might not be able to leave as it becomes a nightmare.
That is where I’ll leave my recap and introduction to the characters. Where I will start is with continuity. Now I don’t remember anything from the last film that I saw in the series, which was Children of the Corn: Revelations. That was the seventh in the series. What I realized while doing this review is that Revelations is the last book of the bible and this movie’s subtitle of Genesis is the first book. A perverted version of Christianity is used here as well as a pagan and almost Lovecraftian element of He Who Walks Behind the Rows. The only continuity I see here is to the original movie where that event happened.
Even though that is the case, I don’t mind what we are getting here per say. We have what happens in the beginning. I will reveal that Cole is Preacher. He survives and was touched with what happened there. This is then a curse that has followed him to the California desert. The fear here is that it could spread everywhere, technically. As far as we are into the sequels, I can run with this idea as it works better than other premises. This again though feels like we had a screenplay and it was worked into being a Children of the Corn story. There isn’t even one cornfield to my recollection which reenforces that this wasn’t originally in this series.
Now that I’ve said my piece there, we are getting a questioning of who the villain is here. Preacher comes off as odd. He’s a hermit and is isolated. We at once see him as the ‘bad guy’. There is then the angle of him abusing this child. Allie is convinced and Tim sees evidence that brings him around. We are also getting the angle of maybe this child that is being kept is evil. This made me think of that segment in The Twilight Zone movie or The Ring with Samara. I like that we blur the lines because it could technically be both here.
There is also the idea of blurring the line of reality. Tim tells Allie that Helen came on to him. This is the right thing to do. Allie is informed by Preacher though that he went farther. We saw what happened there. Did we see it all the way through or did it cut away? This sows the seed of mistrust between them. Allie also tells a story to Preacher about how she had a miscarriage with her first pregnancy. Preacher claims to see into the truth and that Allie had an abortion. This pits our two leads against each other and we don’t know the truth. I did like this aspect.
That is about the extent of what I can say for the positives. I think that this movie is missing connecting items for it to fully work. Why is this child cursed? Cole was an adult when things went down with him in the beginning, so why did it follow to California. Since to my knowledge that this is the first time the curse is getting out and going to a new area like this, we need a bit more there. I do need a caveat, the curse and He Who Walks Behind the Rows has moved farther out, but this jumps from Nebraska to California. There is also the idea that Helen was pregnant before marrying Preacher. I feel this idea was what the original story had before shoehorning in the Children of the Corn mythos. Also, how things play out late in the movie don’t make sense either. I needed more there as well.
There isn’t any more for the story to delve into so I’ll go to the acting. I thought that Coleman and Rock were fine. Drago has a good look to be stoic preacher who is creepy. I don’t even mind Nedeljakova even though there isn’t a lot to work with there. She shows off her body a bit in a seductive way and it feels like the only reason that we have her. I did like the cameo by Whitaker. The children in the movie are kept in the background which I think is good. Overall, I’d say that the acting was fine. It doesn’t stand out, but it didn’t necessarily need to.
The last things to go into are with the filmmaking. The cinematography is fine. It doesn’t stand out. They do well in setting up how far into the desert we are. It feels hot. The isolation there is good. The effects are limited. They go with CGI at times that doesn’t look great. Thankfully they don’t use it a lot which I appreciate. I did like what they do with the child and their powers at the end. That was creative. Other than that, the soundtrack was fine for what as needed.
In conclusion, I think that we have good elements here. We are just lacking things to bring them together fully for me. I’d say that our core cast is good enough for what we need here. The filmmaking is fine. It doesn’t stand out. I’m shocked that this is one of the better Children of the Corn films and coming in as the eighth installment. This isn’t great. Don’t come in expecting that. It just was just over average flick.
My Rating: 5.5 out of 10