61 Days of Halloween: The Children (2008)

The Children, which bears no connection to eponymous 1980 film, continues Ghosthouse Underground’s newly started tradition of showcasing independent horror films that are truly deserving of a spotlight on a bigger stage. This film was recently featured at Toronto After Dark and should be a testament to my feeling that that particular year’s field was very strong indeed.

It is a subtle film indeed, which just goes to show that the horror genre does not need to spoonfeed its audience exactly what is happening at every single turn. The wheels start turning slowly but very surely; as two sisters and their families meet up at one of their houses in the English countryside to celebrate Christmas.

Their children start to come down with a very mysterious virus, which seems flu-like. We get as much detail on what’s wrong with them as the parents do, which is fine. This allows for the parents not to be the typical stupid victims in horror film, and makes most of the kills occur at the first chance the children get.

It’s a film that doesn’t get overly-contrived. We know just enough but it never gets bogged down in details, and it is likely to please the horror aficionado whether they like children (or the acting version thereof) or not.

Another very effective trait of this film is that it’s quite a nuclear tale and occurs in an around this secluded property in its entirety. The unity of space adds to the immediacy of the threat they were facing. They, of course, have to remain stranded there but it is always an effective trait to have in a story of its kind.

It’s also a film whose violence is more about its quality than its quantity, which again proves that body count is usually a cover-up for an ineffective scenario. You may be able to guess what will occur at the end of a film with a seemingly isolated problem, but I will not give it away.

It is a film that finds numerous ways to unnerve you whether it be score, the children screaming, the build up and the violence both actual and implied. It is a film that should most definitely be seen by enthusiasts of the genre.