Children of the Corn: Runaway is a drama about a single mother on the run trying to raise her son in a small town, filled with bigots and mean people. She finds friendship with the local diner waitress. Gets a job as a mechanic. Makes enemies. Worries about her son. Is strong. It’s also the eight sequel to Children of the Corn (1984), and sometimes the screenwriter remembers that and adds creepy children and a bit of blood. Or maybe it’s a sequel to the remake, Children of the Corn (2009). The one thing we know for sure is that it’s the tenth film based on the Stephen King short story.
The screenwriter is Joel Soisson, who also wrote Children of the Corn: Genesis (2011). In that review, I commented that the script seemed to have been a stand-alone flick, rewritten to have a loose connection to the Children of the Corn series. Soisson has an impressive resume of low-grade horror flicks, including the Dracula 2000 (2000) series, The Prophecy (1995) sequels, Hellraiser: Hellworld (2005) and even dabbling in fantasy with Highlander: Endgame (2000). I am sure this was written to be a “Children of the Corn” film, but my guess is that he wanted it to be a more prestigious affair than the other sequels.
The single mother on the run is Ruth. She is one of the original Children of the Corn, but she wasn’t willing to commit suicide, as was expected of her. Perhaps being pregnant gave her clarity of the lunacy involved. Somehow, she managed to escape and ten years later, she is still running away from something. At one point it seems that He Who Walks Behind the Rows is personally searching for her—he speaks to her through the car radio—but nothing much eerie happens for about 60 minutes, or until the kids in town start to act all weird (like eating a raw sheep).
The flick was directed by John Gulager, who is a fine director of horror as can be seen in his directorial debut Feast (2005) and to a lesser extent in the sequels to that film. He is fine here. There is nothing technically wrong with the film. Even the actors are fine. It’s just not a fun horror film, like one would expect. The horror is tacked onto a drama. That can work, but it must be brilliantly written, and the writer of Hollow Man 2 (2006) is just not the man for the job.