Monday, October 6, 2014

Movie Appraisal: Children of the Corn III: Urban Harvest (1995)

"I'm not in here with you. You're in here with me."
Honestly movie, you can't steal from 
Watchmen. Although I did laugh when I heard that line actually uttered in a film about evil children and corn.

I really thought I would hate this movie. After watching both the first movie of this franchise, then the second, and thinking that both of them were fairly mediocre, I came into this film with an undeniable feeling of dread that did not abate as the movie started. I saw Urban Harvest and was afraid. They are only three movies in, I thought, and they're already resorting to going into an inner city environment with Children of the Corn, a franchise supposedly about rural Nebraska. Oh dear, I thought, this cannot be a good thing. But-

But I was wrong. This is the best movie of the franchise so far, full of excitement, actually scares, and an amazingly well put together ending. The actors don't really matter here. None of them sell the film and none of them blew me away. They were there as set dressing for an interesting and shocking story. For once this franchise wasn't afraid of killing off protagonists. In fact this movie is the first of them that actually has a bit of a Stephen King feel to it despite having a very, very, silly premise.

The plot involves these two brothers (not blood brothers, but adopted ones) being yet again adopted after Eli, the younger brother, kills their father in Nebraska. Joshua seems a little slow compared to Eli, but that character trait is dropped fairly quickly, which I'm glad for. These two brothers get adopted by a husband and wife in Chicago and subsequently go to school, a Catholic private school, in Chicago. And it works quite well, I think. The urban environment contrasts well with Eli and Joshua's sensibilities. As a result Joshua is taken in by the culture and makes friends (and a special ladyfriend) in the process. This is the only romance subplot I've liked in these movies so far. It's decently explained without being completely ridiculous in scope.

Anyway, Joshua, the older brother, gets taken in by the culture and acclimatizes, while Eli grows corn and remains a creepy little boy. His own adopted mother seems wary of him as does the head priest at the school. Eventually Eli does make friends almost to spite Joshua. But his friends are simply followers to his message, the message of He Who Walks behind the Rows. Eli grows the corn in a backlot, and anybody who goes back there seems to die fairly horrifically. And this is where the movies shines. It can sometimes be slow, but it's always moving along. The horror is interspersed with the rest of the plot, actually making every moment exciting and interesting.

The deaths are extremely noteworthy for both being very gruesome and very well put together. When the adopted mother dies, I was shocked. And such a horrific "accident" it is. The bum is another gory death, with his head seemingly still animate even long after his supposed death. Even later on with the death of Joshua's best friend Malcolm, who gets his head and spine taken off his body, I think. Whatever happens, it's fairly awesome to watch. The gore is so gratuitous that it never feels scary, but it also doesn't look very pleasant either. I liked it as far as gore goes.

The movie sets up a good amount of things as it goes on as well as showing some things that happened in the past movies with some dream flashbacks. These worked well even if they were a little awkward. The setting up of the corn being sold off is a good stinger. mostly though, the thing that sold me on this movie was the ending. I think I fall in love with any movie that lets an eldritch abomination Corn Cthulhu start killing people nonchalantly while eating some action figure people. I could seriously watch the last ten minutes of this movie on repeat for the rest of my life. It's absolutely amazing.

I guess I don't know what else to say. This movie wasn't good in the classic definition, but it was a fun ride with some good gore effects, no bad CGI, and a really amazing (no sarcasm here) ending. The dialogue is hit or miss. The acting is passing. The direction is better than the last two movies. And mostly, the plot held my attention. While I can't wholeheartedly recommend this movie, I would recommend watching the glorious ending, which I seriously absolutely loved. Some of the death scenes are also quite good as well. Don't feel obligated to give this one a try, but it's actually a very solid movie. I recommend it, I suppose, although I doubt anyone should watch this one without watching the other Children of the Corn movies.

As a horror movie, I especially wasn't disappointed. And that's all I ever wanted.

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