WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
I know I say this quite often when I start off my reviews, but I feel that this movie warrants me saying it again: running this blog has forced me to come into contact with some very strange films, but S.N.U.B! takes the really bizarre biscuit. And before you think I might be overreacting, I would like you to consider what I believe to be the train of thought that went into making it: take people who look like, act like, and have the social sophistication of the cast of The Only Way Is Essex, tell them to do their best impersonation of the cast from Downton Abbey, and then put them in a situation that is more than just a little reminiscent of the plot from James Herbert’s Domain (minus the giant mutated rats). This, essentially, is what you will be dedicating the next 85 minutes of your life to should you decide to watch this movie. Now, that isn’t to say that it isn’t worth watching just to see how it all pans out, but I do like people to be prepared before they go walking off blindly into something.
We begin our misdirected adventure by following a group of soldiers out on an anti-terrorism assignment who are being hotly pursued by an under-prepared orchestra. The government has received word that someone might have planted a 20-megaton nuclear bomb somewhere in down town London (because it’s dead easy to just carry one of those around on you), and these highly untrained men are going to do their best to save the population, should the threat prove to be real. It turns out the threat is real, and the soldiers discover the bomb hidden inside a tiny metal briefcase. They bring in their most panicky and shaky member of staff to try and diffuse the bomb, but he’s never come across something like this before (again, because people don’t usually just leave nuclear weapons lying around, I imagine training with them is a little bit tricky), so he cuts the wrong wire. KABOOM!!! There goes London, all in one giant mushroom cloud.
Thankfully, while the British government doesn’t appear to have trained soldiers, an emergency plan, or an evacuation plan, they do happen to have a terribly unprepared Secret Underground Nuclear Bunker. All of the equipment in there is still from the Cold War so, while it isn’t tremendously helpful in keeping people alive, I imagine it would appeal to all of the hipster survivors who managed to make it inside. Having managed to get all of 7 people inside when the bomb went off (one of which is a minor government functionary who immediately tries to take control of the situation), these survivors band together with the three soldiers, the one communications director, and the one maintenance man who were already inside and try to figure out how they are going to weather this particular hell storm.
Oh yeah – the other problem with the bunker? It didn’t really come with a maintenance plan, so the life support machinery is REALLY old and gets clogged at the first sign of a human corpse falling into it. So there’s the problem of not being able to breathe when the 11 survivors use up all the oxygen in the labyrinthine bunker in a matter of hours (how heavily are they breathing?). Then there’s the issue of hierarchy, which really teaches us that, in the event of nuclear war, paper pushers with God complexes should be the first to be thrown into the mushroom cloud. Yet another issue is the prison right near by which housed Britain’s most dangerous criminals. They’ve escaped the prison thanks to the blast and have suffered from some minor instantaneous mutations and are now trying to push their way into the bunker through its many, many unsealed openings. But not to worry, if all of this becomes too tense for you to watch, it’s intermittently broken by scenes of two of the survivors indulging in flirtation that’s as subtle as being slapped through the face with a wet trout.
If all of this doesn’t convince you to watch it, then I don’t know what will 🙂
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- Americans do like their underground bunkers to be up to date with the latest trends in home décor.
- The British Ministry of Defence never thinks to take steps to out-manoeuvre people with laminated pieces of paper getting past security check points.
- Underground government facilities are no place for children or goldfish.
- The easiest way to control the rodent population in an underground bunker is with a military-issued machine gun.
- Bureaucracy dictates that if bunker survivor quotas are surpassed, excess survivors must be jettisoned into the radioactive wasteland.
- Despite spending so much time on their backs, sluts still need plenty of rest.
- During times of crisis it is incredibly important to revert to Victorian-style gender differences.
- If you pedal a bike fast enough you can easily out-ride radiation poisoning.
- There’s absolutely no security risk in letting the country’s most dangerous criminals help set up top-secret underground government facilities.
- Government focus groups indicate that children make excellent decoys when mutated prisoners are invading your underground bunker.
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Year of Release: 2008
Genre: Horror / Thriller
IMDB Rating: 6.2 / 10
Level of Awful: Surprise! – Low
WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
I’ve known it for a long time and two other movies have proven it: children are evil little f*ckers and should be avoided at all costs. The Children, perhaps not so surprisingly, has done nothing to rid me of this view and, on the whole, the movie was a good 80 minute distraction. Playing nicely on the evil child theme, it examines exactly what happens when adults have to choose between protecting themselves (and their other children) and following their parental instincts. What I did find, however, is that none of the parents in the movie are at all likeable and there is a definite smell of sleaze in the air with most of them. I think this is what put me off a little: the children are genuinely creepy but their parents grated against my nerves so much at times that I couldn’t decide who I was backing.
It’s a story as old as time itself: yuppie big-city parents Elaine and Jonah come to visit rural buddhist relatives Robbie and Chloe for Christmas and New Year’s to catch up on what’s happened throughout the year and so that the children can learn to bond as cousins should. And then there’s Casey, the rebellious teenager who Elaine had her when she herself was a teenager, who has no desire to bond with her young cousins and sibling at all. The assembled company gathers together for drinks and snacks and conversations that should never be held in front of young children, but something other than the conversation is a little off. Little Nicky, Elaine’s young son, arrived at the house feeling rather ill and threw up just after he got out of the car. Something about this illness is making him rather testy with a tendency to smack any adults that come near him.
Now, while the children get progressively more ill and irritable, the parents become more and more unlikable. Jonah’s only reason for being at this little gathering is to try to get Robbie to help him smuggle traditional Chinese medicine over the border (you’d think there are better things you could smuggle across the border, but anyway…). Robbie is quite content to smoke weed out in the dilapidated greenhouse while looking up Casey’s skirt. Chloe is an odd combination of free-spirited hippy and judgmental Victorian mother. The only somewhat likeable people are Casey and Elaine, mainly because they behave in a way that is fitting for their characters. While all of this is panning out and the family cat has mysteriously disappeared, the children have some nasty surprises waiting up their tiny little sleeves.
Parents, bless them, never believe that their children have the capability and innocent appearance to do the devil’s work. This inability to believe in the innate evil of children is what leads to the first ‘accident’ in our little tale: Robbie going down a hill on a snow sledge face first into a rake. The police can’t get there fast enough because of the snow blocking the roads and now the kids are off running around in the forest surrounding the house. But even as the kids become more assertive in their attacks and more violent in their attempts to be rid of their parents the adults are still unwilling to accept what is happening, with Chloe and Jonah being exceptionally irritating on the matter. Only Casey seems to understand entirely what is happening and it is her mission to protect her mother from her baby brother and his cousins. This will be no simple task since children are quick and tiny and difficult to catch while adults are big and strong and capable of throwing you across the room.
Can Casey save the day and make it to the party she wants to attend? Can traditional family values win in a situation where children are trying to kill you? All these answers and more when you watch The Children!
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- Blonde girls are vindictively manipulative from a very early age.
- If your child is vomiting up what looks like frog’s eggs, run – it’s a sure sign that they will try to kill you.
- Morals are subjective – just because you want to bang your niece doesn’t mean that you find smuggling Chinese drugs appropriate.
- As a parent killing your one child because it was trying to kill your other child is a real catch 22 situation and you will be judged no matter what you do.
- Never wear boots when climbing a jungle gym. You will get hurt.
- Dolls are a great weapon if you can imbed them in someone’s abdomen.
THE CHILDREN TRAILER