Written by: Adam Vaughn | March 2nd, 2023
Children of the Corn (Kurt Wimmer, 2023) 1 out of 4 stars.
I am always on the lookout for Stephen King’s works to make it to the silver screen, be it cinema inspired by his full novels or films adapted from short stories. King’s short story Children of the Corn has certainly been favored by Hollywood before. Director Kurt Wimmer (Ultraviolet) introduces a new variation of the famous killer-children narrative, taking place slightly before the events of the short story and showing the uprising of the children against the adults in the small, dying Nebraska town. While this version has some resemblances to King’s story, particularly in aesthetic, costuming, and set design, the overall construction of Children of the Corn is campy at best, straying far from the source content and trying too hard to get an unrelated message across to its audience.
From start to finish, Children of the Corn tries to hammer home the theme that the small Nebraska town is starting to fall apart, with the town’s main corn crops going rotten, and the townspeople losing their way of life. While I love and appreciate the concept of seeing the fall of man (and the rise of children), the script is so poorly written and on the nose that the message feels incredibly forced. This leads to an obvious and unearned motivation from the children to overthrow the adults, led by a snarky but over the top Eden Edwards (Kate Moyer, Delia’s Gone), whose one-liners do not, by any means, fit the Stephen King tone. As the film progresses, the viewer is introduced to various murder sequences by the children, yet many of the kill tactics seem incredibly ridiculous, and are absolutely out of the spectrum of possibilities for a group of children to pull off. In general, Wimmer’s script is full of convenient, implausible plot points that move the plot forward.
On top of the terrible storytelling, there is the interpretation of one of the biggest elements in the Children of the Cornstory: the demonic entity that the children worship which reveals its monstrous face at the end. While there are numerous ways that a demon can be represented, the demon/monster unveiled at the end of this Children of the Corn gives off a sour taste, resembling more of a knock-off “Man-Thing” than any form of demonic presence. Topped with visual FX that are lackluster at times, the final form of the film’s main antagonist (let alone his fate by the end of the film) creates a dissatisfying conclusion to an already choppy film. Sadly, at the age where sequels and remakes are all the rage, Children of the Corn is by no means a film raising the bar for the franchise.