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THERE'S SOMETHING WRONG WITH THE CHILDREN l  Paramount  | Jan 17, 2023

Starring: Alisha Wainwright, Zach Gilford, Amanda Crew, Carlos Santos, Briella Guiza, David Mattle

Directed By: Roxanne Benjamin

When Margaret (Wainwright) and Ben (Gilford) take a weekend trip with longtime friends Ellie (Crew) and Thomas (Santos) and their two young children (Guiza and Mattle), Ben begins to suspect something supernatural is occurring when the kids behave strangely after disappearing into the woods overnight.

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REVIEW BY: Darren Zakus

There's Something Wrong with the Children is a creepy horror film with a simple premise that goes absolutely wild in the final act, resulting in an enjoyable horror film to watch from home this January. 

 

Blumhouse produces a massive amount of horror films each year, ensuring that both experienced and first time creators are seeing their horror stories be brought to life, whether it be for streaming or for the big screen. They recently hit gold with M3GAN, which is currently making waves at the box office, but they have another solid horror film heading straight to your living room this month with There’s Something Wrong with the Children

 

While the title tells you everything you need to know about this film’s story, the atmosphere is truly unsettling throughout the film which has the audience on edge to begin with. What starts off as a simple weekend away for two couples turns into something far more sinister after one couple’s children disappear. Upon returning, the other couple begins to notice that there is something clearly not right about the children, whether their parents want to see it or not. 

 

For the first two acts, the film plays tricks on the main characters, which will leave you questioning whether the main characters are imagining what they think the children are up to, or if there is something wrong with the children. It starts off with some creepy but relatively small moments, forcing the adults to fight. It is smart writing that places the emphasis on the characters rather than the grotesque images to create rising tension, building towards the film’s big final act.

 

By the time the film reaches the final act, tensions are high and it goes absolutely wild in the most entertaining way imaginable. It gets shockingly gory, incredibly intense, and is a true thrill ride to the film’s final scene. Sure, it is a lot all at once that probably could have been built up to a little better, as the film goes from about thirty to one hundred in the matter of one scene. But given the ninety minute run time, it’s just fun to have a bonkers final thirty minutes to this little horror film. I was legitimately worried and disturbed by what was happening on screen, which is exactly what you want for a horror film. While the screenplay leaves a lot unanswered as to what is actually wrong with the children, there is enough there for the audience to draw their own conclusion, as lots of small details are placed throughout the story that hint at what has happened when you think about everything you have just witnessed. 

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Bringing to life the film is a good cast led by Zach Gilford and Alisha Wainwright. Gilford does a great job of capturing the maddening reality of his character, who is being tormented by the children, while also questioning whether what he is seeing is reality or not. Through his performance, Gilford takes the audience on a wild ride before all is revealed in the final act. Wainwright is a force to be reckoned with in the final act, when her character begins to experience the horrors of what the children have planned for the adults on their weekend away. And the children, well… David Mattle and Briella Guiza do a terrific job of capturing the diabolical and truly sadistic nature of their characters after the change they experience. They are truly disturbing and give both the other characters in the film and the audience a lot to be scared of.

 

Visually speaking, the film utilizes natural lighting and shadows to add a sense of mystery in the nighttime sequences. There is a sense of dread as the camera tightens in on a single character, as you can’t help but wonder where the children are and what they are up to, because they could strike at any moment. At the same time, the broad daylight that fills the second act of the film allows the horrifying events to play out in plain sight, creating a sense of unease in the audience because we are not accustomed to witnessing such devilish acts in daylight.


Ripe with an unsettling story and moments of absolute terror, even if the final act is a little over the top, There’s Something Wrong with the Children delivers an exciting and spine tingling experience that continues to break the January curse of bad horror movies.

RATING 3.5 out of 5

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