Children of the Corn: The Gathering

01/15/2019 07:26

Film: Children of the Corn: The Gathering

Year: 1996

Director: Greg Spence

Writer: Stephen Berger and Greg Spence

Starring: Naomi Watts, Jamie Renée Smith and Karen Black



When I was in college, I had sought this film out as I had liked the original. I might have seen it when I was in high school, but I distinctly remember seeing it while in my first apartment. At the time I thought it was alright, but quite forgettable. To get into this one, the official synopsis is all the kids in a town over night become feverish and have convulsions. The next day they start to become evil as a boy preacher tries to turn them against their parents.

This film kicks off with a woman answering her door. She is June Rhodes (Karen Black). She lets a boy in to help him. He has a wound on his hand. She goes upstairs to get some things and a radio turns on. She tries to take the boy’s temperature as he is feverish, but he lets it fall from his mouth. This turns out to be a nightmare.

June’s daughter then shows up. She is Grace (Naomi Watts). She is there as her mother has been struggling with her agoraphobia and is even worse with her nightmares. There are also Grace’s two younger siblings, Margaret (Jamie Renée Smith) and James (Mark Salling). Margaret really loves her older sister where James is becoming aloof the older he has become.

Grace is allowed to take her old job back with Doc Larson (William Windom) while she is in town helping out. It should be pointed out that this takes place in small town Nebraska and Grace is attending medical school. Things get pretty interesting as all of the children in town become feverish, including Margaret and James. During this we are given images of Josiah (Brandon Kleyla). He is the same boy that was in June’s nightmare.

The next day, all of the children’s fevers break, but they start to have a new issue, their teeth are falling out and they are starting to call themselves different names. We see that Josiah has supernatural powers. This unknown boy actually has a history about him as well.

Now I will come out of the gate and state that this film has some good things going for it. I like the history Josiah. He was a boy that was abandoned by his family. He’s taken in by tent revival preachers who end up training him to do the same thing. He is quite the draw and makes them a lot of money. They do some horrible things to him that touched me, including giving him quicksilver to stay young. It also makes sense why he is back for his revenge.

The biggest thing that plagues this film is that it was made as a sequel to Children of the Corn and it really shouldn’t be. It has nothing to do with Gatlin or the events of that original film. To go from there, it never even mentions He Who Walks Behind the Rows. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn if was originally a different script that was forced into being a sequel, as it was made by Dimension and that was something they were known for. I do have to take some points off this film as it is technically a sequel.

I do however like how the curse is affecting the children. I would like that if they were going to actually make this a sequel, have that tie back into the original films that this is what happened to the children back in Gatlin. The film has a low running time, so I think that this could have been worked in to help make this a better film.

This would actually bring me to the editing of the film. I thought they did fine with the pacing of the film. I never really got bored and it does build some tension. To be honest though, it doesn’t build enough to really make me worry about what is happening. I did find it interesting in how it is pieced together how to defeat Josiah for the film. There is a reveal during the climax. It didn’t make a big impact unfortunately for me.

The acting for the film was a bit of hit or miss unfortunately. Watts I thought was fine in the lead role here. This is before she really blew up as an actress and her performance was pretty solid. Smith I thought was really good as well. She was a cute kid and her role in the film was interesting. I felt that Black was underutilized and she really came off flat in the film. The rest of the acting I thought was subpar to be honest as well. No one really stood out and it was just kind of bland. I didn’t really feel for the characters.

We actually kind of get a film where we are waiting to see what the next death scene will be. Something I found interesting is that for being a direct to video film in the 1990’s, the effects weren’t all that bad. There were a few here and there that don’t really hold up, but the blood and effects were actually pretty solid. The film was also shot just fine for the type of film it was well.

Now with that said, this film does do some things I really liked and also did some that I didn’t. I did think there were some interesting aspects to the story. Josiah and his back-story I thought were good as well as the how the curse comes over the town. I did hate though that they didn’t do more to fit it in with the Children of the Corn franchise. The pacing was fine for the film, it moves through things without lacking, but the tension didn’t really build for me to care too much. The acting from Watts and Smith were good, but the rest were just kind of bland. The effects were good and I thought the film was shot just fine. The score of the film really didn’t stand out to me, but I don’t have anything negative to say about it either. I would say this film is very average and would only recommend if you are a fan of the series.


My Rating: 5 out of 10