Movie Review: 'Children of the Corn: Genesis'


A brief history lesson for the younger horror fans -- and for those who still manage to give a crap after all these years:

Stephen King's Night Shift, published in 1978 and really damn good, contains many short stories that have been adapted into feature films: Cat's Eye, Salem's Lot, The Mangler, Maximum Overdrive, and The Lawnmower Man all got their start in Night Shift, but the most "successful" story so far has been Children of the Corn. A nasty little tale of murderous children and an ancient beast, Children of the Corn became a film in 1984 -- and then, nine years later, the wheels came off.

Children of the Corn 2: The Final Sacrifice (1993)

Children of the Corn 3: Urban Harvest (1995)

Children of the Corn 4: The Gathering (1996)

Children of the Corn 5: Fields of Terror (1998)

Children of the Corn 6: Isaac's Return (1999)

Children of the Corn 7: Revelation (2001)

Children of the Corn (2009, SyFy Channel)

Got all that? Good. Because if you're about to watch the newest entry, Children of the Corn: Genesis, none of that other stuff matters. What we have here is a "place-holder" semi-sequel that was created solely so that a certain production company (in this case, Dimension) can retain the rights to a potentially profitable franchise handle. This isn't a horror flick that anyone really wanted to make, even in a fiscal sense, but it exists as a simple matter of contractual obligations. In most cases, a film produced this way is a piece of crap. Despite the thriftiest efforts of writer/director Joel Soisson (Pulse 2, Dracula 3, Highlander 4), Children of the Corn: Genesis is, indeed, a piece of crap. 

Shot on an exceedingly low budget and virtually bereft of any intangible assets that would make up the difference, Children of the Corn 8 (or 9, your call) is about a whiny young couple who, after suffering a breakdown, must hole up for the night with an aggressively weird preacher (Billy Drago) and his inordinately young and smokin' hot wife (Barbara Nedeljakova). Just like in every corny old ghost story you've ever heard, our dim-witted heroes are warned to mind their own business while down on the farm, but they promptly begin snooping around a padlocked barn in which resides a creepy kid with telekinetic powers. So the best they could slap together for Children of the Corn 8 (or 9) is a concept cribbed from The Twilight Zone, a really dreary narrative, a few stupid dream sequences to pad out the merciful 80-minute running time, and a semi-twist ending that might have worked had the film bothered to offer one interesting character, situation, or conflict.

Basically the screenplay feels like something Mr. Soisson had in a drawer, sketchy and unfinished, that he wedged some Children of the Corn terminology in to, which Dimension promptly approved, and the result is a virtually worthless experience that we get to suffer through because Dimension thinks they'll make some bigger money off the "Children of the Corn" moniker somewhere down the line. Even as silly and tiresome as Children of the Corn: Genesis gets, it's even worse because... there are practically no kids in it. (I guess it costs more to hire kids than it does Billy Drago and the hottie from Hostel Part 2.) Even those who (somehow) hold some nostalgic regard for this series will walk away disappointed because it neither furthers the "mythology" of the series nor does it adhere to the established formula. 

This is cheap, lazy, uninspired filmmaking that hopes to coast by on a slick DVD cover and a brand name that's still slightly familiar to the horror fans. Don't fall for it.