Tuesday, May 6, 2014

In short: Children of the Corn: Revelation (2001)

For reasons only known to her, Journalist Jamie's (Claudette Mink) grandmother Hattie (Louise Soames) has moved into a dilapidated apartment building in a town in Oregon. Jamie doesn't understand her grandmother's move at all, so when she suddenly stops hearing from Hattie, she flies on over to investigate. Hattie sure is gone, and the state of the building, peopled by eccentrics, and situated nearly inside of a corn field as it is, just provokes more questions for Jamie.

There's something very wrong with the place, yet still Jamie decides to stay, in the hopes of finding any clues to her grandmother's whereabouts. What she finds instead are pale, creepy, teleporting children who really like to stare at her, a creepy priest (Michael Ironside wasted in an expository cameo), and a creepy cop (Kyle Cassie) who seems more interested in getting into her pants than in doing any police work (though the film doesn't actually seem to realize that its supposed male romantic lead is a deeply unprofessional creep, and instead thinks he’s, well, the male romantic lead). At least, the copper informs Jamie of an interesting fact about her grandmother - she was the only surviving member of the mass suicide of a children's cult. Jamie smells a revived cult; we smell supernatural revenge.

Soon, the obligatory series of murders starts, and it is quite clear to anyone except Jamie that she is supposed to be their final victim. And really, she should be the only victim, seeing how nobody else who dies has anything to do with the supernatural revenge wreaked upon her family.

I can't believe I'm on the seventh Children of the Corn movie now, but thus are the ways of the horror franchise gods. Fortunately, this one's not as bad as Isaac's Return. In fact, I can't help but think that what makes Revelation at least watchable is its only very tenuous connection to the original mythos beyond the obvious ones of children, corn, and supernatural shenanigans, which frees the film from having to try and clean up the mess of the films that came before it. Again, as with some earlier Children of the Corn films, I wouldn't be surprised at all if the initial script wasn't supposed to be a part of the franchise (such as it is) at all.

In any case, Guy Magar’s film is far superior to the last Children outing, which of course is rather easily done simply by making a film that contains an actual plot, an escalation of dramatic events, and supernatural happenings that do have a visible connection to each other as well as said plot. Magar clearly knows these simple basics of making a horror film, and is even able to add a few mildly atmospheric scenes taking place in obviously cheap yet effective sets, turning this thing into something I can at least accept as an actual movie.

Of course, Revelation's plot is rather lacking in revelations, its scares are not all that scary, and its ideas are generally not very interesting, but given the franchise it’s a part of (for better or worse), and its nature as a direct-to-DVD feature from the early 00s, I'm satisfied by it actually being a competent, coherent, and more or less entertaining movie. Low expectations, it turns out, can be very useful.

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