Directed by: Joel Soisson
Written by: Joel Soisson
Starring: Kelen Coleman, Tim Rock, Barbara Nedeljáková, Duane Whitaker
Accidents happen when trying to find a film you thought was something else and accidentally click on a weird spinoff. That’s where I found myself when watching Children of the Corn: Genesis. An honest mistake but one that left me watching a completely horrid and unimaginative horror film.
Due to their car breaking down, Allie (Kelen Coleman) and Tim (Tim Rock) seek refuge at an older man’s house until they can receive assistance for their vehicle. With their location limiting the arrival of help, they spend the night and discover things to be a bit strange in this small house in the middle of nowhere.
In full transparency, I found myself watching Children of the Corn: Genesis thinking I was putting on the 1984 version of this Stephen King story. I saw it on one of the streaming services and I spotted the title Children of the Corn but did not notice the “Genesis” addition to the title. My wife and I watched the film and we found it odd to see the modernity of the feature when I heard the original saw its release date in the 1980s. Quickly, we discovered this dumpster fire was its own beast and not a good one at that.
Stating to be based on King’s story, I find it difficult to believe one could take out a story like this one based on seeing the 1984 version. Everything seems to be the opposite in this world and not much of the story makes sense. The actual story speaks of the dangers of religious zealotry and the manipulation of children, but instead, this film utilizes the kids as sacrificial lambs antithetical to what King originally wrote in his story. Instead, we receive this completely lifeless adaptation going for more scares rather than telling a fully fleshed out story.
The existence of this film may be down to the 1984 version of Children of the Corn not having a good amount of jumpscares. Maybe the filmmakers behind this feature thought it could be improved if they add more cheap scares and dilute the story into nothing the original text espouses. It remains the only reason why this film exists and it fails at every single metric.
In this version of the story, children become necessary to feed whatever supernatural force exists in the cornfield. This puts Allie in the more precarious predicament, as she can carry a child. The old man named Preacher (Billy Drago) appears to be in cahoots with this plan seeing he has a bride far younger than him living in this shabby town. This iteration also utilizes the supernatural power some of the children wield in the story. Does it have any proper significance in the story? No, seeing as this film only wanted to have it because it’s a major part of the text provided by the famous author.
I’m finding it difficult to find many positives in the film because it rarely presents any to latch onto. The scares fail to leave a mark and by the time the story ends, there’s more of a relief it finally ended rather than any satisfaction the narrative could provide. It only has an 81-minute runtime but it felt much longer because the story never presented anything remotely interesting, thus making every minute passing be painstakingly slow. I find it difficult to comprehend how King would approve having the title of his famous story plopped on top of this film, which had nothing to do with the source material he provided. It ultimately feels like false advertising. Sure, it has cornfields and one child in the feature, but that does not necessitate the need for it to be branded with the recognizable name.
If anything, Children of the Corn: Genesis reminded me of the importance of reading everything fully before committing to watching it. I thought I would be watching something actually based on the story written by Stephen King but instead, we received a story so loosely inspired by the material, there served no real purpose for it to have this title. Neither the corn nor the children play an integral part in the story, which makes this ultimately feel like false advertisement. I believe in the stupid tax we have to pay in life for the times we screw up and watching this film felt like the biggest one I have had to pay in my film-watching life and it’s ultimately my fault.