Stephen King‘s Children of the Corn novel spawned an entire franchise of horror films. The original movie premiered in 1984 and quickly became a cult classic in the horror community. After its success, the movie prompted six sequels and a prequel. The ninth film in the franchise, a remake from RLJE Films, is about to hit theaters. Does it live up to the original, or will it fall into remake purgatory? I have some thoughts.
About Children of the Corn
Surrounded by a dying cornfield, the adults in a small town consistently put their vices ahead of everything else. Tired of paying for the adult’s mistakes, a 12-year-old girl, Eden (Kate Moyer), possessed by the spirit in the cornfield, recruits the other children to join her in rising up and taking control. Once all the adults are either jailed or dead, the town’s only hope is a spirited teenager who opposes Eden’s plan.
Children of the Corn 2023 stars Kate Moyer, Elena Kampouris, Callan Mulvey and Bruce Spence. The film is written and directed by Kurt Wimmer. The runtime is 92 minutes, and the movie has an R rating. The characters and plot are based on Stephen King’s story of the same name.
The opening scene wastes no time presenting the terror and providing a slew of kills. During the sequence, a character utters the phrase, “nothing ever really dies in the corn,” which is vital to remember as the story progresses. As the audience meets the first adult, there are immediate creeper vibes. The local religious leader talks to Eden, who survived a terrible experience, and the ick exudes from his very pores.
As we dive into the central part of the story, we meet Boleyn and her brother as she is about to give him some big news. This plot point is important because it plays into the heart of what happens next. It is also at this point that the audience begins to see how badly the corn crop has deteriorated.
When the adults meet to talk about the corn, it becomes starkly plain how they disregard the younger generation’s thoughts and opinions. This thought creates a perfect point to compare Children of the Corn 2023 to the original. While the OG did not dive much into how the grownups treated the kids, this version gives a more in-depth view.
Throughout the first part of the movie, the adults talk down to the youngsters. They accuse them of being foolish, make fun of them, and threaten them. It was also glaringly obvious that the kids were on their own. What surprised me was the restraint some teens showed with the elders.
Another comparison is Eden versus Isaac. In the original, Isaac led the children in their belief of He Who Walks Behind the Rows and the rage against the adults. However, in this iteration, it is Eden who commands the masses. I see her as far more intimidating and vicious than Isaac. Kate Moyer keeps this look of utter disdain every time she is near an adult. She sneers and has a dead look in her eyes that makes her a frightening figure. She has no remorse, nor does she seem to care about anyone except He Who Walks. It is a brilliant performance.
The effects in this film are phenomenal. In many of the other Children of the Corn movies, we get little glimpses of the entity in the corn. Some are shadows, some seem like men, and others are so vague, you can’t tell anything. In this version, we finally get a better look at the evil spirit and I love it.
I also have to take a moment to laud the creative kills. Even though the assailants are kids, the methods are brutal and horrifying. One of the kills is epically satisfying.
While I suggest going into this movie with zero thoughts of the original, I think it is an incredible update to the classic. There are differences, i.e. a female-led cast, a deeper story on what caused the kids to rise up against the adults, etc. At its core, however, it is still that Stephen King story that makes anyone over the age of 18 look at kids with a little more wariness and respect.
As with all Stephen King’s work, there is the ever-present underlying context. In this case, there are themes of selfishness and what happens when parents do not respect the life they brought into the world.
Overall, I recommend Children of the Corn 2023. I caution fans of the original to cast aside all preconceived notions and take it for what it is, a reimagining. If nothing else, sit back and enjoy the soundtrack which is spot on.
Children of the Corn hits theaters on March 3, 2023. It will be available on digital and demand on March 21. Are you excited to see this movie? Let us know in the comments!