The Kids Are Certainly Not Alright- Children of the Corn 2: The Final Sacrifice
Once again, it’s time for me to look behind the rows of corn to see precisely what “He” is playing at. I hope he’s being a good boy and playing nicely with the other children. Or if he isn’t, then I do hope he’s at least responsible for some messy and disgusting kills. I think, however, I know what’s wrong with these films. I’ve been pondering it for a while (well, today) and I’ve come to the conclusion that the premise is just too fucking flimsy and not only that, it’s got far too limited a life span. The films can only be set in one area, and as the kids off themselves when they turn 19, the cult doesn’t have great long-term survival options. No cult does, of course, but this one is even more limited than the rest. Well, that aren’t called “The Moonies”, that is.
Nevertheless, here’s my much-anticipated review of Children of the Corn 2: The Final Sacrifice.
To be fair to this sequel, it also falls under the heading of “pleasant surprise”. It’s actually more fun than the first film, believe it or not. Basically, it continues on about 8 years on from the first film. This time out, the bodies of the adults of Gatlin have been discovered, and against all logic the residents of the neighbouring town Hemingford decide that they’ll take the kids in. Enter douchebag reporter John Garret (Terence Knox) and his deeply annoying son Danny(Paul Scherrer). This wannabe Woodward is hot on the trail of the story of the century so decides to stay in the brilliantly named Angela Casual’s (Rosalind Allen)boarding house. Casual, eh? I wonder precisely what she’s going to be casual about. Her Gatlin adoptee, is the insanely creepy Micah (played with some relish by Ryan Bollman). Next thing you know intrepid reporter is bumping uglies with Ms. Casual and even douchebag son has hooked up with local slag Lacey (Christie Clark).
Well, blow me down, Micah is Isaac redux, and before you know it the little bastard has recruited all the kids from Hemingford for a hugely entertaining kill spree, before the big expected showdown in the fields. “He who walks behind the rows” is duly killed (again) and everyone lives happily ever after. Well, everyone that deserves to, anyway.
Oh, and there’s a mystic Indian as well, called Frank Redbear, played by Ned Romero. Because that’s not patronising or a pretty shameful plot device from the time. To be fair, he does explain that it’s all happening because of the lack of balance and “him ancestors heap big angry” before he goes back to standing outside the local 7-11 holding some cigars. Well, I’m making that up, but I may as well not be, it’s that patronising.
The acting in this, with the exception of Bollman is pretty dismal. I actually wondered if Knox was on some sort of nascent Botox programme and had managed to kill every single muscle in his face. Bollman, on the other hand more than makes up for it. He’s malevolently brilliant, a more OTT and insane version of Isaac than Isaac himself. I kind of wish that they hadn’t killed him, and he appeared in the later sequels, because it’s a wonderfully gleeful version of the fanatic- the sadistic relish on his face when he pulls the voodoo doll sequence and his victim starts pumping blood from every orifice in his head is fantastic.
Which brings me neatly on to the big plus of this film. Aside from the fatal nosebleed scene, the rest of the kills are flat out hilarious. Micah, for example, takes control of an electric wheelchair with a controller and uses it to pilot an old woman out into traffic. Or the frankly (and this has to be seen to be believed) killing of another old woman by, and I can’t believe they did this, crushing her to death under her house. I challenge anyone not to laugh at that- her fucking legs stick out from underneath it like some kind of shitey Wizard of Oz parody. Hilarious.
The script, actually, isn’t too bad either. There’s a nice line in nutty fanatic dialogue from Micah such as “First, cut out her tongue. Then, when her pitiful protestations are silenced, carve out her heart!” or the hilarious “With the harvest moon tomorrow night, our reign of peace shall dwell upon the land. And a sword of righteousness shall strike down the infidel.” Yup, Micah, you are one apocalyptic little motherfucker.
Sadly, this is a severely flawed film. Firstly, director David Price had quite clearly seen Predator recently and the damned film is stuffed full of Predator-vision. It’s fucking awful and grossly annoying. Again though, pretty much all the special effects in the film are dogshit and Micah’s inevitable Demon Mask is pitiful to see. Worse, though, is that the entire film is hinged on an astronomically stupid premise: that with all these fucking adult bodies around the people of Hemingford would be that fucking stupid to take all these kids in in the first place. Seriously, we’re asked to believe that the only person that thinks the kids may be responsible is the loopy old bat destined to form some house’s foundations. Not one other motherfucker even questions these kids or even ponders that, perhaps, the kids may know something about the decomposing adults in the field. This is a positively gargantuan plot hole, and it’s one that the film is neither good enough or bad enough to get over. If it had been really schlocky, then it wouldn’t matter, and if it had been properly professional then there could have been a reason.
Overall, I’m surprised to say that this is better than the first film. It’s certainly a lot more fun. I wouldn’t go nuts about it, but at the moment (and I’m currently half way through part 5) this is easily the best of the series. I give it a pleasantly surprised 2.5 Changs.
Next up the Children of the Corn turn into fertilizer in the fucking dismal Children of the Corn III: Urban Harvest. Which at least does have the comedy value of trying to explain a Children of the Corn film in the middle of urban fucking Chicago.