All Mummy wanted was a back rub- Children of the Corn 4: The Gathering
I’m getting pig fucking sick of this series now (on my third attempt to get through part 6 which really should be called Adult of the Corn). However, so far, this stands head and shoulders above the rest in terms of sheer crapness. It does, in the plus column, have Naomi Watts in the lead, but there’s no getting around the fact that this is blatantly NOT a Children of the Corn film. It’s a ghost story that some genius attached to the series in a wholly misguided attempt at a cynical cash in. Of all the series to attach yourself to, this has to be the dumbest one.
Children of the Corn 4: The Gathering is unique in the series. There’s no preaching, no cult and no mention of “He who walks behind the Rows”. This is strange, actually, because it’s a story about possession and He who walks behind the rows has form in the possession stakes. Not to mention that he’s also the only iconic thing about the series. Anyhoo, This time out Naomi Watts plays Grace, who has been forced to return home because her agoraphobic mother has gone nuts. No sooner is she back than all the children come down with a mysterious fever, start calling themselves by names of long dead children and offing selected locals in a messy way. Grace’s sister is revealed as the ring-leader and once she dons her nancy drew mystery solving underoos, Grace manages to work out that it’s the evil spirit of a long dead fucknut using the children to bring himself back from beyond the grave. Things come to a head, there’s a weird kiddie ritual which involves the flagrant goths-in-training cutting themselves, Grace dispels ghost and saves the day.
This film is wank. Basically, there’s no reason at all to call it a Children of the Corn film. Because it fucking isn’t. It’s an exercise in mind numbing tedium for the most part, enlivened on occasion by the odd messy murder. The problem, basically, is that I don’t give a flying one about this town or these possessed kids. It just isn’t interesting. Furthermore, the writing is frequently cretinous- it’s obvious that Grace’s sister has to be the ringleader for the film to work- in that if she didn’t have a connection to Grace then it’s unlikely that Grace would, say, be bothered to go to the bother of saving the day. So I get this, it’s fair. However, what is not good is that 3/4 of the way through the film they suddenly decide that sisterly love isn’t enough of a motivating factor so it is revealed that Grace is actually her mother, and because of the “lie” that Grace told her she’s become the main vessel for the reincarnation. Why bother with this claptrap?
When you’ve got writing as bad as this, it’s no wonder that the actors struggle. Naomi Watts makes more films I dislike than like, but when on form there’s no doubt that she can act. Surprisingly, in a film as poorly conceived as this one, she doesn’t bring her “A” game. There’s no point. What she does do, though, is put in a performance that outshines ever other non-creepy preacher kid performance in the series. It’s professional, solid, accomplished and completely and utterly wasted in this piece of shit. The kids are ok, as in completely meh, but the film doesn’t know how to utilise their intrinsic creepiness- the twins in particular come off badly from this one.
I’m struggling with this review, because although I only saw it a few days ago, I’m having real problems recalling the film. I’m just left with an impression of overwhelming boredom, and that really, is by far the worst thing about it. It’s just so predictable and uninspired that if I had to summarise it in one word, the word I’d go for is “insipid”. There really isn’t anything of any interest outside of a few messy kills that I’m going to talk about in a second. It’s just the worst kind of film, uninteresting, uninspiring, tedious, unmemorable dreck.
So, given that this film is a waste of celluloid is there any reason other than Watts to watch it? Well, I suppose if this kind of thing floats your boat there is the odd reasonably entertaining kill. In particular, the murder of the town Doctor is pretty funny. He chases the evil twins down a corridor, before getting locked out of a room. Then he turns around and a hospital trolley is ridden towards him (very slowly) by the ghost twins. Doc just stands there with his arms above his face for ages and the trolley pops a blade from its mid section and then slices him hilariously in half. Best bit of the film by a long way. Aside from being cut in half, there’s many a scythe related stabbery including a scythe to the groin that is wince inducing.
Overall, I don’t recommend this. It’s shit and boring. It would be an Orangutan of Doom candidate, and would thoroughly deserve it, were it not for the presence of Watts fighting against the tide of mediocrity. It’s just not a Children of the Corn film, and even if they had made the effort to make it into a proper Children of the Corn effort, then it would still be a boring, useless, inept waste of time. I give it half a chang, and that’s for Watts.
Luckily for me, the series seems to have bottomed out with this installment, as the next up is the Eva Mendez starring Children of the Corn 5: Fields of Terror which is dramatically better than these last two parts. Sadly, though she doesn’t take her top off.