This is part of the Horrorathon for the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization (LVEJO).
After an abysmal sixth film to cap off the 90s, we get the first Children of the Corn film of the new century. Having learned…something from the past two films, this entry seems to combine slasher character tropes with schlocky supernatural stuff AND includes a sprinkling of family revelations. Or a revelation to be specific. In my previous post, I called this Children of the Corn: Revelations but it is really Children of the Corn: Revelation so there better not be multiple revelations.
This movie begins with an elderly woman having a restless sleep at an apartment complex before she bursts through the front doors of the complex and screams, “WHERE ARE YOOUUUUUU?” in her best Jennifer Love Hewitt impression.
A week or so later, our main character Jamie arrives at the apartment complex looking for her grandma. The apartment complex is now very rundown with a field of corn in front of it. It is seemingly centrally placed in the middle of nowhere. Everything about this is very normal.
Jamie takes a freight elevator up to her grandmother’s apartment, encountering two kids who just stare at her. I think we are meant to find this unnerving, but there are no music cues or anything else. It is just someone’s niblings pretending to be be child actors pretending to be creepy cult children.
Upon finding an eviction notice on the door and no sign of her grandma, Jamie goes to Detective Armbrister. He finds her breaking pieces off her styrofoam cup of coffee and just dropping them into the coffee itself?
She tries to get him to open a missing person case, but he says he cannot do that till 24 hours have passed. She also mentioned her grandma had been acting strange, and she only recently moved into the Hampton Arms apartment complex despite the fact it had been condemned.
Disappointed with the attractive but unhelpful detective, Jamie stays the night in her grandma’s apartment. She’s just trying to have a melancholy, “here’s my solo acoustic album cover” moment:
Only for someone to throw BLOODY CORN KERNELS at the window.
I guess this reminds Jamie that she is hungry or something, because she decides to walk over to the corner store for food. The movie suddenly remembers music adds suspense so a score combined with the distant sound of children giggling kicks in. It quickly escalates into an ominous run in with creepy Hopscotch Girl. This is truly a time capsule of what Dimension Films considered scary around the turn of the century:
On the way back to the apartment, Jamie sees a mysterious priest in the alley and you know this woman isn’t from the city because she decides to go up and say hello to a dude standing around in an alley like this:
He just responds by throwing a corn kernel he was investigating (?) on the ground and walking away.
But things are escalating back at grandma’s apartment complex because Jamie is getting full on hazed by corn cult children now!
Jamie emails someone named Evan that she is still in Omaha, so we finally know what city this obvious soundstage is meant to be. She wanders around the apartment complex and finds a door in the basement that says “Do not enter.” Naturally she enters it to find a bunch of miscellaneous plants that will inevitably become corn stalks at some point.
A man who appears to be a paranoid doomsday prepper kicks her out of his secret garden. Upstairs, she meets a table dancer named Tiffany.
Although Tiffany is mainly there to dress and undress for the male gaze, she is given some characterization and isn’t completely one-dimensional, telling Jamie “this wasn’t exactly what I had in mind after ten years of classical ballet, but you gotta do what you gotta do ya know?” Before things turn into a City High song, Jamie leaves and the camera inexplicably lingers on a close up of Tiffany painting her nails.
The stoner down the hall invites Jamie to grill steak and corn with him on the rooftop like ya do.
Before Jamie can make it upstairs, Jerry the stoner bites into evil corn that oozes blood. Finally some more magic corn!
Jerry is promptly thrown off the roof to his death by the two creepy children.
Jamie comes up to the roof to find the steak burnt and the kids being stoic and creepy again. The movie then tries to convince us merely walking backwards is incredibly creepy.
She also sees the mysterious priest again, staring up at the building from the ground level.
The next day, she goes back to the attractive but incredibly incompetent Detective Armbrister. But to his credit, this detective somehow finds out in one day of research that Jamie’s grandma was part of the He Who Walks Behind the Rows cult. This particular sect of the cult decided to set themselves on fire when they thought the adults were going to bust them, but her grandma fled the mass suicide.
Is THIS the singular revelation of the film? Cue the Dramatic Eli Chipmunk from the third movie:
Back at the apartment complex, Tiffany comes home and tries to have a nice bubble bath before getting interrupted by…you guessed it…the creepy boy from the elevator. He ignores her reasonable line of questions/commands (e.g. “WTF are you doing in my apartment? GTFO my apartment!”) and drops some corn kernels into her bath causing corn husks to rise up from the water and beat her to death.
Back with Detective Armbrister, Jamie realizes the apartment complex was built on the same site as the corn cult suicide her grandma escaped. But wait…isn’t that another revelation?!
This is where Detective Armbrister kicks his incompetence and unprofessional behavior into high gear. He escorts Jamie back to her grandmother’s apartment to investigate. He somehow fails to notice Tiffany’s dead body right in front of him:
They go upstairs and have the following dialogue exchange:
Detective Armbrister: What’s this?
Jamie: What does it look like?
Detective Armbrister: …um…you got any plastic baggies?
Jamie: I’ll see.
Jamie: But what does it look like?
Detective Armbrister: Um…blood.
*Detective Armbrister TASTES what he believes to be blood*
Jamie: No baggies.
Detective Armbrister: Good news. It’s not your grandmother’s.
Jamie: It’s not?
Detective Armbrister: It’s Hersey’s. Like the chocolate.Children of the Corn: Revelation
Again, instead of waiting for the plastic baggie, he TASTES the foreign substance he believes to be blood
He then offers to have Jamie stay with him and then, when she declines, asks to buy her dinner. None of this is an appropriate way to do one’s job! Also where is his partner?!
A misogynistic neighbor who uses a wheelchair and mostly just pops into various scenes to scream “BITCH!” is rolled off an interior balcony to fall to his death.
The paranoid doomsday prepper responsible for the “Do Not Enter!” garden is attacked by the cult and decides to flea. He inexplicably takes the elevator, and at each floor the elevator stops and he sees the creepy children…but only when he puts on his night vision goggles? This may be a nod to Thirteen Ghosts, the remake of which was released the same month as Children of the Corn: Revelation.
Despite the fact the children don’t move to attack or enter the elevator (they just keep using the same shot of them standing there in the night vision), the doomsday prepper has a heart attack and dies ala Child’s Play 3. They then take him to their night vision world in a shot that literally makes no sense:
Jamie is now the only one left in the apartment complex. The mysterious priest shows up and tells her He Who Walks Behind the Rows is mad because her grandma should have died in the fire so therefore she should’ve never been born. But isn’t this…sort of another revelation?
She asks him if her grandmother is dead, and he says “she is dead…but probably not gone.” And obviously refuses to add any context to this cryptic double speak, instead complaining that nonbelievers never believe him when he says cryptic things and provides no context.
His final instructions are for Jamie to leave this place of evil. She tells him she will not rest until the religious cult that may have hurt her grandmother FRIES. He tells her on the way out SHE will be the one FRIED if she doesn’t leave! This is the actual dialogue:
Jamie: There’s a crazy fanatical religious cult that abuses children and if I find out they hurt my grandmother, I’ll see to it that they fry!
Mysterious Priest: Hattie came here to save you from that. Now I’ll pray for your soul because if you do not leave, they will see to it that you fry!Children of the Corn: Revelation
The mysterious priest, whose interest in Jamie and the cult is never explained, promptly leaves the movie forever.
Jamie returns to the “Do Not Enter” garden in the basement, and just as I predicted it is now all corn. There she meets Abel, the leader of this particular sect of the corn cult. He uses telepathic powers to prevent Jamie from escaping the apartment complex, locking all the doors and seemingly indestructible windows in what is otherwise a decrepit apartment complex. The last 15 minutes of the movie features Jamie frantically running around and getting scared by cheesy jump scares from ghost children, culminating with this weirdly edited shot someone must have thought was scary:
The kids keep turning on gas stoves, so eventually Jamie throws a lighter at one and escapes by burning the children ghost? I don’t know what the film’s logic is. She makes a run for the front door, but CGI corn sprouts up to attack her, causing her to scream in place at the corn for about 30 seconds before just running for the front door.
Luckily, Detective Armbrister randomly shows up and frees her with a hand scythe – presumably the same one from a murder scene he was just investigating!
Finally, they see specters of ghost children heads floating away in the smoke, seemingly indicating that by burning the ghost children who died in a fire, their souls are now at rest? Which I guess we want despite the fact they are murderous corn cult children?
The end credits just play over a shot of the fire quietly burning next to a statue of a cherub. And that’s the end.
I watched these past six entries on a Children of the Corn DVD Collection, and I have to appreciate that after selecting the particular entry you want to watch the first option the menu gives you is to just go back and not watch the movie:
I really stan a DVD menu that is trying to do you a favor.
- I just realized her grandmother was named Hattie and wore a distinct hat. Wow these movies.
- I love that this movie just does random scary movie stuff but doesn’t bother to actually rope it back into the narrative. It just has a mysterious priest harbinger of doom that shows up without explanation. It just expects us to believe you can blow up ghosts to set their souls at ease. Jamie just shows up to grandma’s place but we never learn anything about her.
- So I think THE revelation is that grandma was in a corn cult and should have died but fled – therefore Jamie should have never been born which therefore made the corn cult ghosts especially upset
- In terms of religion, Jamie mentions although her grandma is a lifelong Atheist, she had a Bible open next to her bed when she went to the apartment. Later, she tells the mysterious priest she “doesn’t believe in that stuff” when he randomly offers her Communion wine. Then again the preacher tells the character to just leave, which would have actually worked out for her. She should have just asked to be excluded from this narrative of which she never asked to be a part of.
Is It Worth It?
If you want to laugh at something, this film would be good fodder. There are some good moments, particularly with the way Tiffany and Jamie are portrayed, but the movie is such an obvious by the numbers cheese fest it doesn’t amount to much. It does exceed the fourth and sixth films by miles. But don’t let that stop you from trying, after all this real IMDb review (presumably written by someone on the film crew) sung its praises as the second best film in the series!