Starring: Vinessa Shaw, Ebon Moss-Bachrach .Mexico. 1h 40m
Based on: El juego de los niños by Juan José Plans
In a bold attempt to update and update the 1976 classic Who Can Kill a Child but Narciso Ibanes Serrador, Makinov has basically just remade it with little care to really expand the story and somehow it now seems slightly underpowered and drawl in all areas which could have been improved.
A young couple, Beth (Shaw) and Francis (Moss-Bachrach) are on holiday and travelling around remote islands before the birth of their child. On arriving at a new island they discover a lone boy fishing but make their way into town finding it pretty vacant. Settling down in an abandoned bar they make themselves drinks and food, assuming that everyone is sleeping off the after math of festival season.
Slowly their impending doom becomes evident when they begin to witness a few oddities, a young girl hugs Beth’s pregnant belly whispers to their baby and runs away, the hotel rooms are turned over and they witness a large group of kids beating an old man to death as if he’s a senior piñata. In all the rules of horror we understand that bad decisions need to be made to progress the plot but the decisions here seem pretty pathetic. Obviously the couple are compromised, with Beth being heavily pregnant, she can’t help but lumber around in her fragile state. the couple seem more concerned with holding up and trying to help as many people as possible rather than saving their own asses.
There’s some interesting psychology at work here though, they are a young couple who are expecting their first child, and we’re programmed to protect children, that’s how the little bastards got away with their psychotic killing spree, their parents and other people weren’t prepared or willing to fight back, I must admit in this situation I’d be going all Rose West on their keisters. Much like The Birds (1963), the kids turn up in small numbers and then rage in waves trying to bash down doors, there’s one particular creepy scene when the couple are walking down a road and they are peacefully sitting on the gate posts just watching, oh so very Hitchcock as they walk the gauntlet until they reach the beach and there’s an army of small faces waiting for them like wall between a town of insanity and their freedom. And the film does have a few sinister scenes in amongst the quaint drama.
It’s really interesting to see how their psychopathic outburst are passed around, without explanation or reason for this plague of child madness, it seems to be transmitted like a social disease through touch and word, similar to the first segment of XX (2017). We don’t know what’s in the box but we are totally aware of the effects.
The film just seems to be a way of throwing more gore into an already disturbing narrative, the kids in this adaptation are more blood thirsty, making ear necklaces and playing inside their victims. But no one seems to really take control of the movie’s centre stage, but Ebon Moss does a lot of the legwork, even though most of it seems to be pointless. What is missing from the original is the intense political issue, the movie opens with a documentary about the negative effects of war and poverty on children, at least this points to some kind of lose notion to the reason behind the event, and while there are pluses and minuses for taking that away, what’s way more impressive is the Masked Belarusian director Makinov, sadly he’s not done much more since this box office flop but to be fair, if he was chasing this couple around a deserted island with his executioner styled mask then I think he’s be onto a winner..
R: Who can kill a child (1976), Wakewood (2009) Children of the Corn (1984), Village of the Damned (1960)
L: Killer Kids, Remote Islands, Killer Remakes