Kurt Wimmer’s Children of the Corn (2023) bears little resemblance to 1984’s original or to Stephen King’s story. To be fair, the SyFy Channel’s 2009 version bore little similarities to it either and the only thing the countless sequels had in common with the original is the name. It’s a safe bet to say Wimmer’s version is the best of the rest, but that’s not saying much.
The crux of Children of the Corn is that the farmers of Rylstone, Nebraska made a deal with GrowSynth, a not so subtle jab at the Monsanto Corporation, who promised prosperity but poisoned the ground making it impossible to grow corn, even though there is a lot of corn in the movie. The farmers decide to burn the corn and take government subsidies not to grow any more corn. Sounds like a solid plan, but they didn’t think about the…children. What about the children?
The child actors make up for a lot of the issues with this movie, specifically Kate Moyer who plays Eden Edwards. Eden is this version’s Isaac. Moyer, if it’s possible, brings out an evil even John Franklin, Issac, didn’t manage to bring in the original. Elena Kampouris also turns in a solid performance as the hero of the story Bo. Although the acting may not be the best It’s very impressive coming from such a young actors. The rest of the performances border on typical but still passable in the confines of the movie.
With a running time of roughly 90 minutes everything feels condensed. There’s not too much to say and the movie doesn’t reveal everything. Children of the Corn gets straight to the horror which isn’t a problem to certain fans of the horror genre. The movie, at certain times, is truly disturbing. Eden has her child army, who have been turned evil by He Who Walks into evil spawn, ready to do her bidding. They bury adults alive, kill someone else by bashing his head in with baseball bats, and send other adults into the corn to be torn apart by He Who Walks. In the final act, the children are seen killing adults in the street.
He Who Walks
With the retooling of the story Wimmer removed all of the religious elements which played prominently in the original movie. The children don’t have biblical names. There’s no messed up readings of biblical passages. You also lose the disturbing fact from the original movie that the kids made te disturbing choice to kill their parents and other adults. In this remake the kids are possessed so have lost any free will. He Who Walks Behind the Rows is now He Who Walks. Why the name change? Maybe there were certain things Wimmer wasn’t allowed to include due to copyright or contract issues. Maybe it’s because He Who Walks actually walks. He Who Walks Behind the Rows has been turned into a walking corn monster. The CGI may not be up to everyone’s standards but it’s not bad for a low budget horror movie.
Bad Parenting Skills
There’s not a lot to hang your hat on in Children of the Corn once the religious elements are taken out. You just have to roll with assuming He Who Walks is some sort of demon who’s possessed the children of Rylstone because the corn is going to be burned or He Who Walks exists because the adults in Rylstone are pretty bad parents. Wimmer doesn’t waste time or heavy handed measures to get that point across.
You also have to roll with the fact that an eighteen year old knows more about farming than people who have been doing it all of their lives. Bo, short for Boleyn, tries to convince the farmers there are other options to burning the corn to which she is greeted with one of those heavy handed moments used only to make sure we know the farmers aren’t above laughing and making fun of a teenager.
In response, Bo kidnaps her parents. She has an already obviously deranged Eden gather up the other adults so the children can hold a trial. If it sounds like a bad idea it’s because it is a bad idea. By this point, you know exactly what’s going to happen to all of the adults whether Bo knows or not.
The ending is going to be most familiar to audiences. Instead of Vicky (Linda Hamilton) trying to burn the corn it’s Bo. The execution of how Bo goes from being almost sacrificed by Eden to saving the day is typical and you can see it coming from a mile away. However, you won’t be disappointed because you almost expect layup endings in low budget horror movies.
Children of the Corn is not a completely bad movie. If it was called anything else it may have been a better simply because it wouldn’t have as much baggage to carry or fans of the original to please. It will scratch your horror itch if you’re looking for a quick horror movie with gore and blood. The cinematography is good in certain scenes, Unfortunately, it’s set up for a sequel. The sequels to the original Children of the Corn were low budget cheese. Any sequel to this version probably doesn’t stand a chance to be as good as its predecessor.