As notorious as 1984’s CHILDREN OF THE CORN may be, one could hardly call it a cinematic masterpiece. Whatever its shortcomings, and there are many, it remains memorable almost solely due to the genuine, can’t be faked creepiness of its two main stars and no, I’m not referring to LINDA HAMILTON and PETER HORTON. As Isaac, the preternatural preacher, JOHN FRANKLIN (25 at the time) gave off a disturbingly uncanny vibe the likes of which audiences would not witness again (until perhaps just recently with ISABELLE FUHRMAN’s remarkable turn in THE ORPHAN). Isaac’s right hand ginger general Malachi (COURTNEY GAINES) provided an almost equal amount of consternation with a mere glare that could stop a clock.
The Syfy Channel’s 2009 interpretation may have had the intention of adding a darker more hopeless vibe with an assist from original author STEPHEN KING, but the results, thanks to erroneous casting, are an unpopped kernel. It may not seem fair to place all of the blame for this movie’s failure on the lap of child actor PRESTON BAILEY, but without a believable or at least remotely menacing Isaac (BAILEY should be shilling Welch’s grape juice rather than shepherding a cult), the entire effort is pointless. Don’t expect the new-fangled Malachi (DANIEL NEWMAN) to pick up the slack either; the only type of fear he instilled in me was the type that had me scrambling to IMDb to check out his date of birth (thankfully dude is 28). For further evidence, check out the photo below. Now, which Malachi do you want to run away from and which do you want to go paddle boating with in Central Park?
Epic casting fails aside, there’s more wrong here than the Smurf-ification of the children. BATTLESTAR GALACTICA’s KANDYSE McCLURE (who did KING a disservice once before as Sue Snell in the CARRIE re-blotch) is borderline intolerable as one-note harpy Vicki. Although Vicki’s in-car gang assault does manage to muster up some steam, it’s not nearly strong enough to make up for the fact that most of the kiddie mob scenes resemble poorly staged grade school war reenactments. Worse of all, unless I had a blackout that I’m not aware of, the film just stops with what has to be one of the most anticlimactic closings I have ever witnessed. CORN fans disappointed with the original film’s reveal of “He who walks behind the rows” will find that issue solved by credits rolling speedily past instead.
As a fan of STEPHEN KING’s short story I really wanted to like and was excited for a more a faithful adaptation of his tale. There are some interesting tweaks like having main guy Burton (relatively faultless DAVID ANDERS) suffer from ‘Nam flashbacks, but for the most part I was left mostly depressed about just how weak the pen is when up against lackluster filmmaking. An uncut DVD is just around the corner, but unless it includes an entirely different production amongst its features, I say chase it out of town like an outlander.
I saw this last night as well. I, too, was baffled by the abrupt ending. Oddly enough, it almost felt like a pilot for a series or the launching point of a series of other films. Or something.
To say this re-boot sucked is being beyond kind. It made the SHANNEN DOHERTY re-dux of SATAN’S SCHOOL FOR GIRLS look like MASTERPIECE THEATRE, and that’s sayin’ something ’cause I love me some bad T.V. movies.
I want my two hours back SyFy!
And for what it’s worth, I’d totally go on a tandem bike ride with the original Malachi any day.
That’s a damn shame. I was really hoping this wouldn’t be terrible…
Just awful. Stephen King + TV = crap.
Props for the Gaines pic – man that guy had some awesome locks.
I tried, I really tried, but this was just so awful it had me longing for Linda Hamilton lip-syncing to “School is Out”
I actually really liked the Satan’s School for Girls remake. I just did. But then again Shannen is my girl!
Courtney Gaines was in Hardbodies, therefore he rules.
I’m willing to watch this, because the first film is a boring travesty. I saw the film before I read the short story and was totally unprepared for how truly creepy and frightening the story was.
Oh, and I guess I’m a little shocked why both film versions could turn out so badly because the original story is one of those that could be adapted almost scene for scene very easily.
Hey Blackwingrose, the original story was boring crap. It wasn’t scary at all, lol. In fact it was one of the worst short stories I’ve ever read. The original was a classic, and the remakes sucked. You try making a “cinematic masterpiece” with 300 grand!!!