Children of the Corn (2020)

Separated at birth: Greta Thunberg and Eden Edwards

Rating: C+

Dir: Kurt Wimmer
Star: Elena Kampouris, Kate Moyer, Callan Mulvey, Bruce Spence

To be clear, I have not read the Stephen King novel, nor have I seen any of the ten preceding entries in the franchise. The only reason I’m here is finding out this was directed by Wimmer. He gave us the glorious insanity of Equilibrium, and then Ultraviolet, which is – and I will die on this hill – the best showcase ever for Milla Jovovich’s belly-button. That was 2006, and after Ultraviolet was… not well received, he then stopped directing. Probably not short of a buck despite this, since his script credits include Salt, as well as the remakes of Total Recall and Point Break. But my love of those two features got me interested in watching this, another critically panned Wimmerflick.

It takes place in the Nebraska town of Rylstone, where crop failurs – partly the result of GMO meddling – have pushed the settlement to the brink. Local farmer Robert Williams (Mulvey) wants to take federal subsidies to plow the corn fields under. His daughter Boleyn wants to salvage things, though is on the edge of leaving for college in the big city. The younger Eden Edwards (Moyer) is also opposed, but for very different reasons. She, and most of the town’s other kids, are in thrall to He Who Walks, who has inhabited the area for aeons, and is unimpressed at the idea of the corn going away. Under the persuasive leadership of Eden, the children ensure the adults will pay for their crimes against He Who Walks.

I enjoyed the film considerably more after I realized that Eden Edwards = Greta Thunberg. As the picture (top) shows, they look scarily similar, and just listen to Eden’s rabble-rouding speech to the young townsfolk. “This is our world now, and we’re gonna run it the way we want for a change. And we’re gonna run it right! And isn’t just gonna be Rylstone either. We’re gonna spread the word all across this country. You think there aren’t others like us? Kids seeing their world and future just being traded away? Well, they’re gonna take their towns, too, and make this whole world right again!” It seems Wimmer, who wrote this too, is tired of the idealistic nonsense spouted by those with no concept of how life actually works.

Again: I can’t compare this to previous versions or the original story, which apparently leaned more heavily into the religious elements. But on its own merits, this seemed perfectly fine. There are an adequate number of gnarly kills, though I’m not sure about actually showing He Who Walks. It looks uncomfortably like a hungover version of Groot, and they might have been better off just going with the humans’ horrified reactions to its appearance. More of Eden would have been fun too, with Moyer really embracing her persona, and delivering one of the most impressive evil children of recent years. In comparison, Kampouris does little except stand around and look horrified for much of the time. It’s no Equilibrium, certainly. Yet I enjoyed this more than The Boogeyman.