Reason to remain childless #23,472: Evil
Director: Greg Spence / Writers: Spence & Stephen Berger / Cast: Naomi Watts, Brent Jennings, Karen Black, William Windom, Jamie Renee Smith, Samaria Graham, Brandon Kleyla, Mark Salling, Lewis Flanagan III.
Body Count: 7
Dire-logue: “I don’t wanna be the one in charge when their heads are doing 360s and they’re hurling pea soup.”
He Who Walks Behind the Rows doesn’t get a mention this time around, despite taking the action back to a small midwestern town surrounded by cornfields. It’s been suggested that this was not part of the franchise initially. Hard to swallow given everything that happens.
A pre-fame Naomi Watts is a med student who returns home to look after her agoraphobic mother, Black, and her two younger siblings, one of whom will later play Puck on Glee, then kill himself after some nasty charges were brought.
Shortly after her arrival, a local farmer releases the spirit of a dead preacher, who subsequently unleashes a fever on the local children. Once the virus passes and the kids are on the mend, they begin turning into pint-size psychos, offing parents, doctors, local law enforcement, and then congregate in an old barn to resurrect Josiah to his human form, using Watts’ little sister.
Plenty of bloodletting for a nineties horror flick (when the genre kinda pussed out of explicit content) and there are some creepy setups, but dopey padding concerning the medical subplot (about as wacky as the contaminated corn excuses in The Final Sacrifice) decelerates the horror. Echoes of The Wizard of Oz in the “I’m melting! I’m melting!” finale are also anti-climactic.
Although a little better than Urban Harvest, there’s still a distinct lack of adhesive to the central motif surrounding the cult of brats, taking it about as far from Stephen King’s original short story as possible. Oh no, wait, it strays further in the next few sequels…
Blurbs-of-interest: Karen Black is also in Oliver Twisted, Curse of the Forty-Niner, Out of the Dark and Some Guy Who Kills People; Brent Jennings was in Alone in the Dark; Mark Salling had a small role in The Graveyard.