Film 365

There’s Something Wrong With The Children (2023)


Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Movie Details: 

Director: Roxanne Benjamin
Writer(s): T.J. Cimfel and David White
Starring: Zach Gilford, Alisha Wainwright, Amanda Crew, Carlos Santos, Briella Guiza, and David Mattle.
Production: Blumhouse Television & MGM+
Distribution: Paramount Home Entertainment
Release Date: January 17, 2023
Runtime: 92 minutes
Rated: Not Rated

What It’s About:

Margaret (Wainwright) and Ben (Gilford) take a weekend trip with their longtime friends Ellie (Crew) and Thomas (Santos) and their two children, Lucy (Guiza) and Spencer (Mattle). After discovering a strange structure built into the cave, Ben notices something different with the children that the others don’t. And he suspects there’s something wrong with the children and it’s something supernatural. 

Let’s Talk About It:

I spent about $7 for this movie, there’s not too much to say on that front. I guess the old adage of “you get what you paid for” comes into play here. And it’s not that I hated the movie. There were times, I found myself hooked to my screen. But the moments between holding onto my attention and letting my mind wander towards my phone were greatly spaced out. 

Maybe the creepy, murderous kid trope is too played out. While this one has an interesting twist to them – what really possessed the children? Were they even possessed? Are they fucking praying mantises (mantes? manti?)?! – but it wasn’t enough to save the storytelling. 

I mean, just look how fucking creepy she is.

And what was with that storytelling? Dropping Ellie and Thomas’s botched foursome as a way to give Margaret a reason to offer taking the kids for the night so they can rekindle some romance within their marriage was fucking weird. It added zero to the story, nothing for the couple’s dynamic, and could have been literally anything else. The sudden news drop of Ben’s mental health made me scramble trying to remember if they had mentioned it earlier. Even in brief passing. Was he paranoid? Schizophrenic? Bipolar? 

And seriously, were the kids possessed or fucking demonic, humanoid praying mantises?! Was this a case of body snatching insects or mind control? 

And while the fear of the unknown plays greatly in horror – sometimes it’s better that we don’t know the monster’s origin or motive – but at least tell us what the rules are for this creature. Because Ben did see two kids yeet themselves down a hole only to magically reappear inside their parents’ cabin. 

But the movie wasn’t all bad. Child actors Briella Guiza and David Mattle both owned the creepy kid routine, making me shudder every time one of them cracked a smile or spoke in that weird praying mantis language. And Alisha Wainwright seemed to be the only adult not phoning in her performance.

And hats off to The Gifted for the original music that appears in the movie. And to Yaron Levy, who worked as the cinematographer. If not for the stunning shots and music that played well together, this movie might have led to me yeeting myself down a well. 

Seriously, give these kids another creepy movie, one with a better story.

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