Friday, October 11, 2013

Who Can Kill A Child? (1976)(Spoiler Review)

**This review contains spoilers**

Two English tourists take a trip to a remote island before the arrival of their third child. Tom (Lewis Fiander) and his pregnant wife, Evelyn (Prunella Ransome) wander the empty streets of the island. Tom and Evelyn are unable to find any adults on the island. Instead, happy and silent children roam the streets with no supervision.

After a while, Tom discovers the mutilated dead bodies of adults scattered throughout the island. Using a chance to see their two children Richard and Rosie again as motivation, Tom and Evelyn fight through packs and packs of murderous children for one last shot at reaching the boat for safety.

Fiander and Ransome deliver a pair of believable performances, as the distraught and panicked couple stuck in an isolated death trap. The kids are menacing and creepy, and the seemingly innocent smiles were a nice touch  as a cover up for their true identities as playful and cold-blooded killers.

The finale turns into a real emotional gut punch, as Francis tries to escape. After hiding out in a jail cell, Evelyn’s unborn baby starts attacking her from the inside, and the fetus eventually kills her. Earlier in the film, a little girl touched and listened to Evelyn’s stomach, and Evelyn believes the little girl put some kind of curse on her baby. After a farewell kiss, Tom leaves Evelyn’s body alone in the cell. Then, Tom uses a machine gun to kill a blockade of children. Tom is able to reach the boat, but the remaining children catch up with him. Tom fights off the children by himself, until the police arrive in their boat. The officers see a crazed guy beating up a bunch of kids, so one of the officers kills Tom with one shot, as he’s pleading for help. The police dock at the bay, but during the calamity the children sneak aboard the cop boat to grab all the weapons. One of the kids shoots the officer, who killed Tom, and a small amount of children board a boat to head towards the mainland.

A wonderful finale full of suspense and heartache, with the perfect cliffhanger at the end. Fiander was excellent as this broken man, who was just fed up with everything, and he didn’t care anymore. For a moment, you’re lead to believe Tom might make it out alive, when he reaches the boat. But the kids catch up to him, and it’s a struggle to the end. And the kids did great job of selling the shock in this scene. As the officers step off the boat, the kid’s are devastated and some of them are crying. But when the officers turn their backs for a few seconds, the kid’s take advantage, and the looks of devastation and sadness disappear. Basking in their triumph, the kids flash a bunch of  devious “We got you” smiles.

Who Can Kill A Child? benefits from some raw and unapologetic social commentary. The movie opens with a hard to watch intro featuring documentary footage of children devastated by poverty, war, and famine. And during the early stages of the movie, a clerk at a convenience store alludes to the tragedies involving children caught in the cross fire during the Vietnam War. After the first ten minutes of the movie, you’ll be able to understand the unbearable dilemma the main characters face, as they struggle to answer the title’s question.

The gory stuff is kept to a “barely noticeable” minimum here, you won’t see an overflow of blood, and Who Can Kill A Child? doesn’t rely on a lot of bloody gruesomeness to disgust the audience. Plus, director Narciso Ibanez Serrador creates the perfect eerie and unsettling atmosphere for Who Can Kill A Child? This one is full of some good chilling and creepy moments, and Who Can Kill A Child? is one of those films that’s hard to forget about after you’re done with it.

Rating: 8/10

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