Monday, July 11, 2011
Beware! Children at Play
Director: Mik Cribben
Writer: Fred Scharkey
Genre: Horror: Evil children
For being a Troma production this was pretty tame - and that's a good thing. Here, let me try and explain...
The film felt like a mid-80s thriller about kids who are disappearing in a small town. They don't turn up dead or anything - just go missing. The same can be said for some adults as well, although it's a rather slow progression. It's all very mysterious for a while until the film ramps up and you see what is going on with the children lost out there. Aside from the fact that it gets rather violent the film isn't anything "outrageous" even when kids are pegged as the aggressors. Obviously that's been done many times before.
While it is a little disturbing with the level of violence against children as well as depicting the kids being violent it never quite feels as crazy as a Troma film should. Only during the climax would I say the film finally veers a little bit out of bounds. Beyond that, it mostly looks like a film that wanted to shock and failed. It's kind of a shame really that the climax is so over the top because it colors your perspective over the rest of the film like it was a complete waste.
The Troma edge is distinctly lacking (in every part except the last 10 minutes) although that's not a bad thing. As a movie, I think it does rather well. It's the kind of movie people might go to a theater to see just like any other Hollywood blockbuster. It has 4 stars on IMDB but that doesn't make a lick of sense because this is just the kind of stuff casual horror fans would eat up.
Children at Play drags on a bit but overall it's a nice production, even if it feels dated. Just don't go into it expecting another Mother's Day or Toxie flick because you'll find that spirit distinctly lacking.