The current fad for evil kiddie chillers – see Ils (Them) from France, Eden Lake from the UK and While She Was Out from the US – continues with another British horror flick in which children do diabolical things to disbelieving adults. As the title of this one suggests, this time round it’s not teenagers but pre-pubescents and pre-school-agers doing the terrorising. But in keeping with those other kid-phobic films, it’s comfortable and complacent middle-class adults who find the young ones turning on them for reasons they cannot comprehend.
Here, the children-heavy families of two sisters (Eva Birthistle and Rachel Shelley) get together for Christmas celebrations at a secluded country house. The children run riot, the parents guzzle chardonnay and everyone seems to be having a peachy time (aside from mopey teen emo Leah played by Rafiella Brooks), when, for no apparent reason, the kids begin acting strangely. At first they’re just withdrawn or anxious, but soon they turn feral on their parents, first with a violent outburst at the dinner table and then with a calculated act that abruptly brings the seasonal festivities to an end.
There’s a nugget of a good idea in all that, but director Tom WAZ Shankland and co-writer Paul Andrew Williams (London to Brighton, The Cottage) ditch the existential horror for simple-minded bloodletting. Any comparisons to John Wyndham’s masterly Village of the Dammed are, therefore, entirely unjustified.
Selected release from Fri 5 Dec.