Horror Movie Roundup #2: Children of the Corn, The Descent 1 & 2

I’m still pushing through my ever-growing stack of horror films, and for this batch I visited an 80s classic, a modern favorite and a dreaded direct-to-video sequel. Here are my mini-reviews for each of them:

Children of the Corn [1984]
Children of the Corn [1984]
Children of the Corn has all the makings of a great horror film: evil children, Satanic cults, a creepy rural town, and to top it off, it’s based on a Stephen King short story. Throw in a young Linda Hamilton embarrassing herself, and this should be a fun ride, right? Not exactly. Unfortunately, the film suffers from a lack of suspense, and it never really gets as spooky as you might expect. Much of this likely lies in the fact that this is a short story stretched out to a 90 minute feature. It feels like a bit of a throwaway film, and it’s surprising that it is still so popular today (the ninth entry went direct to video last year). Still, it’s not a bad effort, just a somewhat disappointing one when considering its legacy. 6/10

The Descent [2005]
The Descent [2005]
When six girlfriends get together for a spelunking adventure in an unmarked cave deep in the Appalachian Mountains, it doesn’t take long for things to go horribly, horribly wrong. The Descent, a title that works in multiple ways, takes us deep into the pitch-black cave with these women; their headlamps and flares are the only lights used to show the impending atrocities. With the foreboding darkness and tight, narrow crevices inside the cave, there is always a powerful sense of claustrophobia. Those who struggle with confined spaces will have a hard time watching this film. Once the shit hits the fan, so to speak, The Descent takes a horrifying, bloody turn with some truly impressive gore. There’s something for everyone in this clever horror flick, and it’s easily one of the best I have seen from the last decade. 8/10, leaning up

The Descent: Part 2 [2009]
The Descent: Part II [2009]
This direct-to-video sequel follows a new group of people who head down in the cave in search of those missing from the original. With new writers and a new director, the film doesn’t follow the vision of Neil Marshall’s 2005 feature, and it greatly suffers as a result. There are far too many moments that stretch credibility beyond belief, and it pisses all over some of the events from the original. The sense of claustrophobia is kept to a minimum as well, as the characters seem to maneuver around more wide-open spaces, and the lighting is way too bright this time around. As a stand-alone film, it isn’t terrible (there’s plenty of gore and a few memorable moments), but watching it comes with the risk of lessening the original’s impact. 5/10

Have you guys seen any of these three films? What do you think of them?

27 thoughts on “Horror Movie Roundup #2: Children of the Corn, The Descent 1 & 2

  1. le0pard13 says:

    I was always amazed that the film of Stephen King’s chilling little short story, ‘Children of the Corn’, generated the number of sequels it did. I always thought it was very mediocre. Neil Marshall’s ‘The Descent’ was certainly the antithesis of that. Love that film. I think I have its sequel in my Netflix queue somewhere. So glad others are ahead of it. Thanks, Eric.

    • Eric says:

      Glad to hear I’m not alone on Children of the Corn. I mean, nine sequels, really?

      It’s safe to skip The Descent Part II. Since you have fond memories of the first one, the sequel will almost certainly disappoint. Especially with how it changes around some of the resolutions of the original…

  2. jsicktheslick says:

    I’ve only seen The Descent out of these three, though I recall scenes from Children of the Corn from my younger years. I was honestly surprised with The Descent however: the creatures the girls run into are pretty damn scary, and it definitely caught me off guard.

    • Eric says:

      Absolutely, man. The creatures are especially frightening since these girls are pretty much stuck underground. And it’s pitch black. Definitely not a situation I would want to be in. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Chris says:

    The premise of Children of the Corn was quite interesting to me, so I can get why there are sequels. 9 sequels is outstaying your welcome though ๐Ÿ™‚ Too bad the ending of the first movie was so immature, which basically ruined it for me, and didn’t fit with what went before.

    Loved The Descent [2005], my score is the same. Really felt as if I was in that claustrophobic cave with them!

    Hmm, don’t want to lessen the originalโ€™s impact. Going to follow your advice, and skip sequel.

    • Eric says:

      Haha yeah, I thought the ending of Children of the Corn was pretty ridiculous, too, but it kind of worked in an 80s cheese sort-of-way. Kind of wish it went in a different direction, but I guess it had to follow the source material.

      So glad to hear you enjoyed The Descent as well. Probably the best horror film I have seen this month.

  4. The Heretic says:

    I always felt Children of the Corn was rather forgettable. It is one of those films that I will watch, know that I watched it, and then forget it after a while. To me it just didn’t have much of an impact for a movie. I agree with your comment about short stories being stretched out when they are translated into a movie.

  5. paulbowler says:

    The original Children of the Corn is quite a creepy film, one of Stephen King’s best short stories. I’ve only seen the first Descent film. It was very dark and scary, and those creatures were horrible.

    • Eric says:

      I wouldn’t mind reading King’s story. For all of his film adaptations I have seen, I should really read some of his work.

      You’re not missing much by skipping The Descent, Part II. Basically less scares, more action, and a lot of nonsensical plot holes.

  6. Andrew says:

    The first Descent film is, in my estimation, one of the most primal, purely terrifying horror films of the aughts, and a great example of what Neil Marshall can do at the height of his powers. Making a story that takes place in a setting so specific as a cave system into something that’s universally scary is no small feat; I had to sleep with the lights on the first time I watched it, and I was nowhere near woods or caves or anything that could harbor devolved bat-men. That says something.

    On the other hand, the second film manages to both be more of the same without adding anything new, and also de-emphasize the aspects of the first film that were so scary. I can’t be bothered to recommend it; it’s boring as hell. But Children of the Corn is great, so there’s that, too.

    • Eric says:

      Agreed on both counts for the Descent films. I have no problem recommending the first one to anyone — it really is one of the better horror films in recent years, and there aren’t many that nail that sense of claustrophobia that it did so well. The sequel, on the other hand, the less said, the better.

  7. sati says:

    I love The Descent it’s one of my top 5 horror movies – it’s so scary and the ending is awesome. Never seen the sequel, though, I heard it’s bad and I didn’t want it to ruin that great ending.

    • Eric says:

      The sequel pretty much shits on the ending of the original, unfortunately. It plays off the American ending, not the British one (which I saw, thankfully).

  8. assortedanomalies says:

    The first Descent movie was truly a brilliant movie. Its claustrophobic setting really scared me. However i hope you saw the original british cut not the american version which dilutes it a little.

    While on the topic of horror i would recommend you watch The Orphanage, a spanish movie. It completely takes horror movie making into another dimension.

    • Eric says:

      Hey, thanks for the comment! Yep, thankfully I was able to see the original British version. I read about the American changes afterward, and yeah, I would have been pretty upset with that ending.

      I definitely need to see The Orphanage. That’s been on my list for a while now. Thanks for the reminder!

  9. ruth says:

    Not a horror fan as you know, so I haven’t seen any of these. I did vote for vampires on your poll Eric, there’s something um, romantic and sexy about them. No, I’m NOT talking about Twilight!

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