That last film I watched, 'Eden Lake', affected me no end. My nights are now filled with awful nightmares of murderous kids chasing me through an endless forest.

And now my waking hours are being invaded - haunted even - by ghostly children as the wind that whistles through the igloo now sounds to my fragile mind like children's laughter. Menacing. Mocking. Malevolent. Murderous. And bloody annoying.

So I pray for something to take my mind off this macabre train of thought. I note that I haven't had an old classic horror to watch for a while. Something from the 40's or 50's would be a welcome piece of nostalgia for me to enjoy, for example.

Aha! Here comes today's film, and I think I'm in luck! Unless I'm very much mistaken I can see the faint outline of Boris Karloff appearing through the static...


My name is The Igloo Keeper and I am a horror fan. I watch 30 or 40 new horror films a year knowing that most of them will be rubbish. I do this because 7 or 8 will be worth watching. A couple will be great.

The Children is directed by Tom Shankland, whose previous film, Waz, you might know by its alternate tiles Wdelta Z or The Killing Gene. Don’t get me started on alternate titles.

Is it any good? Yes. One of the best horrors I’ve seen in a long time in fact. Tom Shankland sure knows how to direct. The cinematography and use of sound in this film is outstanding. You feel that the camera is always placed in the correct – if sometimes unusual – position (one particularly effective aerial outdoor shot springs to mind as we follow a trail of blood). Best of all, he treats the audience with a degree of intelligence. We pass by a table with scissors on it. We pass the table again and notice the scissors are missing – if we’re paying attention that is…

All this wouldn’t count for much if The Children didn’t deliver in the horror department, and thankfully it does. I was genuinely unsettled and creeped out throughout. At one stage I literally felt my spine chill (only to discover an icicle from the igloo roof was dripping down my back).

Creepy children are a horror staple, but some might say they’re a bit of a cliché.

How can you make them scary without being a bit… silly? Well, what Tom (I’ve decided I like him so much I’m going to call him by his first name) does is use restraint. He doesn’t ask them to act spooky or evil. He pretty much gets them to act like kids. And this works because it makes things believable – wonderfully, horrifyingly believable - even when these kids are running around with sharp pointy objects and playing the most peculiar games with dead bodies.

Here’s the plot in brief – a smug couple with a couple of kids arrive at their friends’ remote country home. Their friends are another smug couple with loads of kids. One of the kids gets sick. He goes a bit weird. Slowly, the other kids follow suit. Weirdness turns into a depraved bloodlust for adult flesh! That last line is a bit of an exaggeration, but I like it so I’ll leave it in. There also appears to be some sort of sub-text about abortion and pregnancy that I couldn't quite work out.

In summary then, dear reader, The Children manages to avoid most horror cliches, and is a genuinely unsettling and scary film made with real skill and flair. This is rare. So please enjoy it.

The only bad thing about the film is the rather lame 'You bought them into this world...' tag-line on the poster and on this trailer. Tom obviously didn't have anything to do with that.


  1. Thanks for the review. I am will definately be adding it to my list! I appreciate all your hard work on behalf of us horror film fans..I appreciate it.


  2. Oh good, I've been meaning to catch up with this one. Now it's a definite.

  3. No problemo Frog Queen. I was at a bit of a loose end to be honest.

  4. Yippee! I am very happy you gave this a good review. And "Best of all, he treats the audience with a degree of intelligence" made me want to sing.

    I read about this a long while back in one of my imported English magazines - they gave it a pretty good review, but complained about the parents refusing to believe their kids were evil...for way too long... I hope this isn't going to irritate me.

  5. Just watched this one last night, man it was awesome. Totally agree with this review, the direction, cinematography and acting - particularly the kids - was top drawer. Can't recommend this movie enough.

  6. What annoys me is that this film including its name has already been done! Yet not one source of information about this movie even mentions it as the most likely source of inspiration this director/writer would have used.


    Im about to watch this "new version" and see how it compares.

  7. Glad to hear that this is a good one!
    [I am waiting for Netflix to get it, though I do have Shankland's The Killing Gene near the top of my queue. . .]

    Thanks for the review IK!

  8. I haven't seen this yet, but after reading your review i think i might check it out this evening...

    I was also quite shaken up by Eden Lake and now i cross the road to avoid small clusters of hooded youths... Living in Belfast this is no mean feat!

    Hope all is well in the igloo.


  9. Hey. Just wanted to let you know i watched The Children last night after reading your review. I enjoyed it. Great direction and cinematography like you said - the film looked great - and blood on crisp white snow always looks startling. BUT! I hated the adult characters. None of them were sympathetic or at all believable. They did and said things that didn't make sense. Ok, its a horror film about murderous children, i realise that, so disbelief should be suspended. i just thought it would have been a much better flick if we'd had some adults to connect with and root for. or maybe we were supposed to root for the sprogs? if so, bravo!

    James :P

  10. I found it really funny, guy I saw it with (boring ass he is) never cracked a smile once, the rest of the audience found it funny too.

    Nice little Christmas horror