The Children

December 5th, 2008


The Children

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Still of Eva Birthistle in The ChildrenStill of Hannah Tointon in The ChildrenStill of Eva Sayer and Jake Hathaway in The ChildrenStill of Rachel Shelley in The ChildrenThe Children

A relaxing Christmas vacation turns into a terrifying fight for survival as the children begin to turn on their parents.

Release Year: 2008

Rating: 6.1/10 (6,895 voted)

Director: Tom Shankland

Stars: Eva Birthistle, Stephen Campbell Moore, Jeremy Sheffield

A relaxing Christmas vacation turns into a terrifying fight for survival as the children begin to turn on their parents.

Writers: Paul Andrew Williams, Tom Shankland

Eva Birthistle - Elaine
Stephen Campbell Moore - Jonah
Jeremy Sheffield - Robbie
Rachel Shelley - Chloe
Hannah Tointon - Casey
Rafiella Brooks - Leah
Jake Hathaway - Nicky
William Howes - Paulie
Eva Sayer - Miranda

Taglines: You brought them into this world. Now ... They will take you out.


Official Website: Official site | Official site [France] |

Release Date: 5 December 2008

Filming Locations: Cookhill Priory, Cookhill, Alcester, Warwickshire, England, UK

Opening Weekend: £98,205 (UK) (7 December 2008) (132 Screens)

Gross: £199,259 (UK) (14 December 2008)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

Casey's tattoo is the cover art of the album "Agaetis byrjun" of the Icelandic band Sigur Rós.

Continuity: When we see Casey smashing at the bedroom door it constantly rattles and shakes madly, but when we switch scenes to the other side of the door, with Elaine leaning on it, the door is not moving at all.

Casey: [Annoyed] Did you ever hear of contraception?

User Review

A Family Christmas to Remember

Rating: 7/10

One of the most effective aspects of this movie is the way the tension builds inexorably. From the moment you see the children there is an impending sense of doom. The children themselves are both brilliantly cast and wonderfully realistic, by which I mean that their behaviour is easily recognisable as the normal behaviour of manipulative and moody kids, until it spills over to the purely demonic.

The rest of the cast who, apart from Stephen Campbell Moore, I didn't recognise, all portrayed characters who were very believable, even if not entirely sympathetic. After all, how can you sympathise with smug middle class parents discussing homeschooling now that they've sold the business? The adults were in fact wonderfully flawed, matched in spades by Casey, who enters the movie as the least sympathetic character: selfish, self absorbed, and distant in the way that only a sixteen year old can be. However, Casey is arguably the real hero.

The script skillfully presents the tip of the iceberg, suggesting and hinting at the unseen part of the characters' lives, never spelling everything out, but crediting the audience with the wit to work some things out for themselves. The horror cliché of characters doing stupid or unrealistic things that annoy the audience was always avoided, as was the use of the dark. Instead the action takes place against a white Christmas backdrop, which sadly reminded me a little of Reny Harlin's 'snow' bound Die Hard 2, but even so the blood on snow motif was very effective.

Tom Shankland's script, and in particular the dialogue, was very convincing, but he is also a highly visual director. According to my girlfriend the Miss Marple he helmed is quite beautifully photographed, and I really liked the atmosphere and visuals in WAZ. The Children also has the same stunning images, which along with the very powerful soundtrack, conjure a mood of foreboding and dread. If you appreciate horror movies with tension and beauty as well as a succession of wince- inducing set pieces, then this is a film for you.


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