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You brought them into the world. They will take you out. A family anticipates a Christmas filled with sledding, laughter and hot cocoa as they head to their vacation home in the secluded backcountry…The holiday cheer takes a fast turn for the worse after a mysterious flu-like virus sweeps through the kids. One by one the children become deadly. Amidst the suspicion, mayhem and murder, the parents fight for survival against their own twisted offspring.
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The performances are uniformly excellent, which is crucial for a horror film to be scary. Special kudos for Mr. Shankland for coaxing genuinely creepy performances out of very young children. See the recent The Omen remake to see how not to do it. ;)
This film is not for fans of jump scares or fast-paced editing. Well, to be honest, there are a couple brief flash-cut editing moments, but they are thankfully brief, and I can see the point to them, so they are forgiven. My point was, this is a slow burner that takes its time to establish the setting, characters and mood. And as a real horror fan, I can appreciate this deliberation as true scares are built from those building blocks. The horrors that do happen, in time, are that much more effective when they do.
The picture on the BD looks great to me, but I'm not a real A/V geek, so you can look elsewhere to discuss crushed blacks. ;) There are a wealth of special features here, too, but noticeably absent is a director's commentary, alas.
On a side note, what was wrong with the fantastic cover art of the UK release? And why does Ghost House feel the need to plaster their graphics all over more prominently than the film title?
Anyway, highly recommended for horror fans who are tired of cheap jump scares. But parents beware, as the themes here are truly disturbing.
How does it achieve this? It simply sets up its situation and its story. Two families come together before Christmas carrying their children to a remote area in the woods. Slowly with one event the children start showing signs of sickness. The parents however are too self absorbed in their own problems complicated by teenager Casey whos acting rebellious flirting with her uncle and trying to hide a tatoo from her parents. Slowly though things begin to change. There are hints but things are never clear until the first fatality. Then the adults are scrambling around looking for their children while Casey begins to suspect the truth trying to warn adults who only want to protect their children even if those kids are coming at them with a pair of scissors.
The children as it is is a slow burn of a film that is more about tension and suspense than gore. The gore is still there in flashes and glimpses. The kills are brutal and effective as they're happening to characters who are well defined and acted. And unlike Who Can Kill a Child I'll admit even the violence to the little tykes was unnerving without feeling exploitative. This is an excellent film a great addition to the new Ghost House Underground series. Even if you didn't like last years releases do check this one out.
For the price you do get a great release for a budget. The audio is terrific while the visuals a bit grainy in the opening do improve and make one of the better discs from Lionsgate. To go with the film theres also quiet a bevy of featurettes that are better than most. All in all a recommended disc though I'm more for the movie than anything else.