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Tuesday, June 20, 2023

Review: There's Something Wrong With The Children

Director: Roxanne Benjamin

Screenplay: T.J. Cimfel and David White

Year: 2023

Creepy children have long been in horror movies, often as a metaphor for the fear of motherhood/fatherhood. The juxtaposition of innocence and evil is a recipe that works like a charm because of the conflict they cause in our brain, exemplified in classic movies like "Rosemary's Baby" or "The Omen." For this juxtaposition to work, that aspect between adorable and terrifying must be worked well, which is more complicated than it seems and in which many films with this theme fail.

A family and a couple of friends are going to spend a few days in a cabin in the woods. On one of their walks through the forest, they discover a cave that leads them to a deep cliff to which the children begin to feel attracted. After this event, the children's personality changes completely, which leads one of the adults to think that something supernatural may have happened in the cave.

For the majority of the film, we see what happens through Ben (Zach Gilford), who is one of the couple's friends with children and who recently went through a stressful event from which he is still recovering. Both of these characteristics are important because they are reflected in two of the three main problems of the film directed by Roxanne Benjamin. The first is that we are never quite sure who the protagonist is since none of the characters develop well, and we jump in perspective between all of them.

The second problem lies in the way and the pace at which the plot develops. We often jump from one situation to another without much explanation, or items are brought without preparing them correctly. An example is Ben's mental health problem, which is briefly mentioned at the beginning of the film and not mentioned again until it can be part of the plot opportunely, except that by the time it is brought up, enough evidence has already been presented to us. to be sure that this is not the problem.

As mentioned at the beginning of the review, for the theme of scary children to work, the contrast between cute and scary must be worked well, and this film is an example that this is not easy to achieve. Even with a decent performance, the kids don't impart fear at any point in its 92-minute runtime. This is their biggest problem because the whole scare factor is kids being scary, and they're not.

With an inconsistent plot and acting, sloppy pacing, and children who never quite get terrifying, “There's Something Wrong With The Children” fails at everything it sets out to do. It has some engaging visuals and pays homage to many classic horror movies without being able to use those elements to its advantage. The worst part is that the horror is almost non-existent when it has a lot on its hands to bring it to fruition.


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