In 2008, Donald Borchers, one of the producers of the original “Children of the Corn,” decided that it was time to remake the film. It wasn’t perfect and not close enough to Stephen King’s original 16-page short story vision. He sent Stephen King a message. He wanted him to be involved. Stephen King’s lawyer sent him a reply, which I guess was just a giant “No” on a single piece of paper.
The first adaptation had managed to conceive six sequels, the last one being released in 2001. None of them were really good films, but there were some that were okay. The first wasn’t one of them. It was boring, but at least it had competent actors, likeable protagonists, and a memorable antagonist.
Borcher had no idea what made the first one a bad flick. Not even the slightest. This remake, released 25 years after the original, manages to take the only redeemable qualities of the original, and butcher them.
Let’s start with the couple that ends up in the town of Gatlin, which is run by the corn children who worship He Who Walks Behind the Rows. In the original, they were an ordinary couple put in an extraordinary situation. We could relate to them, even though they didn’t have much of a personality. In the remake, we have two of the most unlikeable people ever brought on screen. Vicky, the wife, spends most of her time screaming at her husband. They obviously hate each other with a passion, and with that, we can relate. We want them to die.
Now, every Children of the Corn film has had a new antagonist, except for the sixth one where Isaac returned. In the original, Isaac was played by John Franklin, who was in his twenties but of small stature so he could pass as a kid. He was a sassy queen of a cult leader and a memorable villain. Borcher decided to cast an actual 8-year-old as Isaac for the remake and he picked the most generic looking 8-year-old he could find and just put a big hat on him.
The actors who have been in other roles have proven themselves to be competent actors, but the characters, the script, and the direction they got is so bad that there is no way for them to not look like amateurs here.
The film looks fine, it has some interesting shots, but everything else is just forgettable trash. It serves as a valuable lesson for anyone who wants to remake a film: find what didn’t work in the original, and make it work. Borcher took the only redeeming qualities the original had and made them worse, but decided to keep the worst aspect of it, how utterly boring it was. Don’t do remakes like Borcher.