But won’t someone PLEASE think of the children- Children of the Corn 3: Urban Harvest
Well, this had to happen. Children of the Corn 1 and 2 were surprisingly acceptable, so is anyone remotely shocked that part 3 is an absolute sack of manure?
I’d like to think that everyone involved in this with one exception (the kid that plays Eli) are actually embarrassed. No, hang on, that’s not strong enough, I meant “ashamed”. The whole series didn’t exactly hit the ground running, more hit the ground drunkenly stumbling along hoping not to crash into a wheelie bin, but this installment that makes the fundamental error of transplanting an intrinsically rural series to an urban environment, finally loses its balance and falls on its arse. This is a bad film.
This installment of Children of the Corn is utter crap. I don’t know which rocket scientist came up with the idea of relocating an essentially rural tale to a major urban area, but whoever did needs a pimp slap. It’s a crap idea. Anyway, this time out, we’re following two uprooted Gatlin children. They’ve been shunted to this commodity broker asshole in Chicago who has, for reasons never adequately explained, decided he needs to adopt to yokel kids, one of whom looks suspiciously like a fanatical Amish cultist homicidal preacher.
Anyhow, the two kids (the normal Joshua and the creepy Eli) are installed in a faith school in Chicago. This, is funnily enough, the worst place on the planet for these kids. Eli is sticking to his Gatlin roots, while Josh discovers MAD SKILLZ in things like basketball, wenching and other fruitful teenage activities. Probably including masturbation. Anyway, Eli decides that what Urban Chicago really needs is a cornfield in a burnt out warehouse, so manages to grow one in about 1 minute. He also decides that it is utterly essential to set up a suicide/ murder cult.
Josh eventually (and completely randomly) works out that Eli is, in fact, HE WHO WALKS BEHIND THE ROWS!!! Ohmigod, you mean creepy little Amish looking cunt is a demon? Well, that explains the supernatural powers he has then, and the fact that he’s protected by a magic bible or some such shit. Cue showdown, where Eli throws magic fire at Josh, before being killed and morphing into a ginormous poo monster, and being killed again.
Oh, and apparently, the corn is infected or some such shit.
As you may have gathered, this is wank. It’s unnecessary, badly thought out, creatively bankrupt shite. The writing is just all over the place here- I do understand that Part 2 opened up the whole “possession” route, but here they follow that to the letter. The kids aren’t in the cult because they’re alienated or whatnot, they’re in it because they’ve been possessed. Personally, I think this is much less effective than the original idea. Furthermore, it’s a terrible idea to make Eli an immortal demon who kills every 20 years or so on a harvest moon. For a start, the unseen menace of He who walks behind the rows was far more effective than a little tosser with magic powers. There’s really far too much emphasis on the supernatural in this film, although the scarecrows (this films only good addition to the series) should have been reused in other films- they’re frightening and quite gross. Even taking the above into account, there are several gargantuan plot holes in it, and the explanations for the holes are just pitiful (one of them is that, apparently, certain people can “see” Eli for what he is, but not everybody because it’s very rare and one of the characters clearly didn’t recognise his demonicness). Finally on a writing front, there is not one instance of good dialogue in the film. Eli throws out hackneyed crap, the psuedo-religion doesn’t work, and the real religion lingo is worse.
It’s also shit on the acting front. Ron Melandez is a plank as Joshua, Jim Metzler is hopeless as adoptive dad William, and Nancy Lee Grahn is dire as the mother. The various teen actors are passable. The worst of the lot, though, is Michael Ensign as Father Frank Nolan. He just simply fails to convey growing concern, going from calm to terrified with the flick of a switch and one not very frightening nightmare. However, Daniel Cerny is hammy but effective as Eli- clearly modelling his performance on Micah from part 2. He’s the only acceptable performance in the film.
The special effects, oh Christ the special effects. I don’t know where to begin with this. On the whole, the gore and kill effects aren’t bad (the spine extension is a cracking piece of gore, and the Scarecrows are good), however this is completely ruined by two scenes. The first is the dinner scene where bugs start pouring out of the two adults, who eventually fall to the floor and break in half releasing more bugs. Except they don’t, what actually happens is that two clearly rubber pre-cut husks are dropped unsubtly, bounce slightly and then bugs meander through the neat slits in them. Rubbish. The second, and far more unforgivable one is the climactic battle. First of all, it looks ridiculous when Joshua uses a magic bible to fend off evil nascent CGI fire balls that look completely fake, before Eli morphs into the aforementioned HE WHO IS USED TO FERTILISE THE FIELDS monster. This monster is fucking terrible, it’s atrociously, unforgivably bad. In fact, it’s a bad idea to begin with (Eli was clearly defeated, the kids had returned to normal) and to continue it with enthusiasm far outstripping both budget and ability was a monumental mistake. Still, it does give us the sight of Charlize Theron being killed by a vine.
Well, I’ve made it sound terrible, and it is, but it isn’t an Orang of Doom material. The kills themselves are satisfyingly gory, and the aforementioned scarecrows are good. So therefore I’m not dropping it down to the bottom level. However, the best kill of the film is the hilarious cause and effect death of Amanda. You know the type, it’s a Final Destination style “if I turn around too fast from this piece of corn here, then tread on this conveniently placed pipe for a while until I slip then stumble backwards until I fall over in precisely the right place for a conveniently placed (suspiciously blunt looking) bit of pipe to penetrate my skull” style kill and is unintentionally hilarious.
Overall, this is toss. It’s more fun spotting cameos from people who went on to other things (Theron, and a Buffy alum are in it). I can’t recommend it, because it is bollocks, and I wouldn’t dream of doing so. This is an inept idea, abysmally executed and is better forgotten. I give it an extremely generous 1 Chang and half of that is entirely due to it being better than Part 4.
Next up is the aforementioned part 4- which isn’t even a fucking Children of the Corn film. It’s a heinous cash in with one redeeming feature, although I can’t believe that anyone thought cashing in on this franchise was a good idea.
Oh, and for no reason in particular, except that it’s more interesting than the film and I feel like it, here’s a naked Theron (which I am going to incorporate into a rating system at some point).