A new cornfield, a new set of shitty adults, and a new set of creepy kids, Children of the Corn is back and it’s certainly not the film you remember. While the name is familiar, the film releasing to theaters this Friday is not just a regurgitation of the 1984 New world production. From the protagonists to the leaders of the rebellion to the motivations of both sides of the story, this is a new story with more new ideas than familiar tropes.
The motivation for removing the adults from the town is far more justified than in previous iterations of the story. Whereas in the original, the film basically begins with the slaughter of the townsfolk by their children and we are never able to quite see as much of the “why”, this new film spends nearly the first half of the film showing us exactly what has lead to the children’s rebellion. Thus, this new film’s structure is vastly different, as is the manner in which the story is told. In fact, one could argue that it’s actually a different story altogether. While there are certainly similarities and there’s an obvious influence from the original film and short story, the changes are drastic enough that the film’s ideas and themes come across as wholly unique and different. In short, whether or not you’re a fan of the original may not matter, as this is a distinctly different film.
In addition to the change sin the story, there a tonal change, wherein the campy nature of the original is completely removed. Perhaps this is primarily due to the modern filmmaking style and the very nature of much 70s and 80s genre film coming across as campy to modern audiences, but there’s a definitively more serious and dark tone to this newer film. While some of the CGI may cause the practical effects purists to complain or even chuckle, the film has a distinctly more serious tone.
The differences can also be seen in the lack of a strong religious backdrop, something that was key to the original film. The religious foundation of the town in the original film is imperative for the story that film was telling and its themes. In this film, there are some religious undertones, notably in the cultlike behaviors and the town’s priest. However, it’s the town’s poverty than is far more a defining factor of the setting than its religious fervor. This drastically alters the themes and ideas that seem to be being told by this iteration of the story, but it all works nonetheless.
Releasing in theaters this Friday and on VOD on March 21st, you can check out this new tale of terror from the American heartland for yourself and see just how it stacks up.