Starring: Terence Knox, Ryan Bollman, Ned Romero
REDBEAR: “My ancestors would have told you that man should be at one with the Earth, the sky, the water. But the white man has never understood this. He only knows how to take. And after a while there’s nothing left to take, so everything’s out of balance and we all fall down.
GARRETT: “Wait a minute. So that’s what happened here in Gatlin?”
REDBEAR: “No. What happened in Gatlin was those kids went apeshit and killed everybody.”
How can a film be so good yet have a sequel so achingly bad? Many will tell you this has always been the case (Freddy’s Dead and “The Exorcist II” spring to mind). But Children Of The Corn II is so terrible compared to the first film that your soul will weep.
Seemingly taking place soon after the events of the first film, news teams have arrived to cover the story (presumably the survivors of the first film notified authorities). Meanwhile Garrett, a reporter, is driving through the countryside for a job interview in New York with his son Danny coming along for the ride (against his wishes). Hearing of the story in the small village of Gatlin, they decide to check it out. Horrific hijinks ensue.
Children Of The Corn II is rare in that you’ll probably enjoy it more if you haven’t seen the original first. If you already know the story so far, your brain will be overloaded with questions for the first 40 or 50 minutes. “How long is this after the first film?” “Are those two corpses at the start meant to be the couple at the end of the first film?” “How come Malachai looks so different?” and “Where did that new kid come from, and how did he become the leader so quickly?”.
Put simply, this film makes no attempt to connect with the original. The first scene after the credits (a terribly-acted news broadcast) tries to explain its own version of what happened, deciding to totally ignore the characters played by Linda Hamilton and Peter Horton in the first film. One of the most important characters, Malachai, has been replaced by someone who looks absolutely nothing like him and has no emotion whatsoever (unlike the original actor who, as mentioned in the previous film’s review, made the part his own by being a wanker). Naturally the actor could not be called upon to play the role again because this was filmed eight years after the original and going by the story he would already have been sacrificed because he’d be well into his twenties.
The whole thing reeks of shoddy filmmaking in general. Two elderly sisters are played by the same person and are never seen in the same scene; a Native American character stereotypically called Red Bear is introduced and quickly gets into character by talking about how foolish “the white man” is; and the quality of the acting reminds me of a girl from my Drama class in High School (she failed).
It’s not all bad news however. There are some interesting death scenes (one in particular involving a windscreen and a bale of corn, reminiscent of Final Destination 2) and the actor playing Micah, the new cult leader, is curiously strange (as the role demands, after all). He’s certainly one of the more interesting characters and fits into the “Isaac” role of the first film quite neatly.
Humour is also scattered throughout the film, a move that is unwelcome in my opinion. The original film was straight horror and nothing else; an attempt to add comedic elements is out of place (except for the excellent quote at the top of this review, of course). A death in which an electric wheelchair is taken over by one of the kids is a prime example of humour ruining the tone of the film.
The only real area in which this film is on an equal ground with the original is unfortunately that both have a weak ending. Again we are treated to what seems to be a giant mole tunnelling underground, followed by poor CGI effects in an attempt to add an unnecessary supernatural element to the film. Of course, the sequel takes it too far before this point anyway, with pointless Predator-style ‘body-heat’ POV shots that affect the film in no way at all other than adding to the shitness factor.
Children Of The Corn II would have received only one skull out of five had it not been for the pleasant addition of Christie Clark, a fine actress who sadly didn’t do many films after this. To give a film an extra half a mark based on the appearance of a minor character alone however speaks volumes on the overall shoddiness of the entire production.
Do yourself a favour and watch this awesome seven-minute version of the film, which cuts out all the boring shit and leaves you with the weird shit.