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The Children

Sponsored by: Concept Audio Visuel

North american Premiere

  • England 2008
  • 84 min
  • 35mm
  • English
North American Premiere
Official Selection, Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival 2009
Official Selection, London Frightfest 2008

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"One of the best horror films I’ve seen all year" — Tony Timpone, FANGORIA

"Damn-near perfect" — Anton Bitel, EYE FOR FILM

"Strikes a perfect chord between subtle and visceral scares... yet another terrific example in what might be a new wave of British horror cinema" — Andrew Kasch, DREAD CENTRAL


Director: Tom Shankland
Screenplay: Tom Shankland, Paul Andrew Williams
Cast: Eva Birthistle, Stephen Campbell Moore, Jeremy Sheffield, Rachel Shelley, Hannah Tointon
Producers: Rupert Preston, Lee Thomas
Distributor: Lionsgate

Screens with...



North american Premiere
2008 | 2 min
English language


Far more frightening than CHILDREN OF THE CORN or the bulk part of other killer kids pics that have preceded it—it bears mentioning, this is not a remake of the similarly themed 1980 film that shares its name—this British powerhouse shocker ranks among the best horror film offerings of recent years. Like last year’s REC, the plot is deceptively basic, stripped-down to something that may almost seem generic on paper, yet this film is anything but conventional. No, this film is going to tear your head off. A pair of families spend Christmas weekend at a secluded country house. While the adults catch up with each other and kick back, their children begin to act a little strange. They may be getting sick. A freak accident or two later, and people begin to get hurt. Badly. The adults are in complete denial of what appears to be happening. That ends soon enough when the children inexplicably begin to slaughter everyone. The warmth of Christmas distorts into a harrowing fight for survival.

This is the second feature from writer/director Tom Shankland, who previously turned no shortage of heads with WAZ (released as THE KILLING GENE in our neck of the woods). Like the best of U.K. horror filmmakers, he likes his fears character-driven, intense and served straight. Would you be able to protect yourself if the people you loved wanted to cut you to pieces without any sense or reason? Shankland uses the naturally manipulative nature of children to terrifying effect, magnifying trace elements of cruelty into the unthinkable. The kids’ increasingly savage acts of aggression begin as typical behavioural problems and seldom appear to be born of anger. In fact, they’re barely behaving any differently than the norm, “innocent” acts of bloodletting and hurtfulness aside. The film denies us any explanation for what is happening outside the most minute of vagaries, burrowing itself in at a slow burn and piling on an ascension of unease before blasting out into dizzying heights of horror that will jolt you breathless. You will be on the edge of your seat. And you will be horrified.

—Mitch Davis

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