Blu-ray Release Date: March 13, 2018
Director: John Gulager
MPAA Rating: NR
Runtime: 82 Minutes
This product was provided by Lionsgate for the purpose of this review. All opinions are our own.
The tenth, yes tenth, entry into the Children of the Corn series, Children of the Corn: Runaway, is now out on Blu-ray, and while I’ll immediately begin by saying that this is every bit as hokey and poorly crafted as what you might expect, it isn’t nearly as abysmal as the last entry in the series, Children of the Corn: Genesis.
Last year I made a point to watch every single one of these things, and for the life of me, I can’t figure out why they decided to make any past the first one, which itself wasn’t very good. Directed by John Gulager, who previously made the outrageously gory and fun Feast movies, Runaway stars Marci Miller and Jake Ryan Scott as Ruth and Aaron, a mother and son trying to escape the cursed town of Gatlin, Nebraska, where Ruth grew up as part of the religious child cult that ran the place. Unfortunately, after they settle down in another small town, evil makes its way to them and now Ruth must desperately try to get Aaron away before the cult kidnaps and indoctrinates him.
The town immediately hates her, and Ruth begins to feel like something’s amiss when she begins having horrible visions of locals being murdered in horrific ways. These poorly shot, dreamlike sequences were problematic for two reasons. They blatantly telegraph what’s to come, frequently taking the wind out of the sails of the inevitable killing when they occur in real life, often dropping a far too obvious clue as to how all this is going to turn out. I knew what the conclusion would hold by the second act, so the rest of the film just felt like it was going through the motions.
There are two elements, however, that put this unnecessary sequel above the last two unnecessary sequels in the franchise (well, one reboot and one sequel). While I can’t say the story is very compelling, it’s a far cry from the perplexing pile of garbage that was Children of the Corn: Genesis. First, Runaway has a simple narrative – which, judging from how the later sequels handled these creepy kids and their corn world – is definitely the best way to tackle this franchise. Like Genesis though, there was very little actual corn and children therein, so fans may be bothered.
The second, and possibly strongest, element in Runaway would be the make-up and gore effects. I wouldn’t expect anything less from John Gulager, and he delivers some pretty intense moments of blood and guts. Still, these splashes of carnage ultimately fell flat due to the lack of attachment to any characters and the aforementioned visions.
Lionsgate handled the Blu-ray release for this one, which includes a digital copy, but the only special feature on the disc is one lonely deleted scene, nothing else. I can’t imagine there are many die-hard Children of the Corn fans out there these days, but even if you are, I still suggest skipping Runaway, despite it having a marked improvement over Genesis and maybe a half step up from the 2009 remake.