Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Who Can Kill a Child? (1976)

* Slow to get rolling, but once it does, damn. Debt to The Birds is pretty obvious, but there's something uniquely disquieting about a semi-redux that replaces the avian attackers with murderous children. Doesn't wimp out or shy away from the uglier aspects of its premise, either. This is one fucked-up film.

* The "slow to get rolling" part nearly lost me, though. The setup, with its husband/wife leads taking their sweet time getting to the island and then even more sweet time figuring out their predicament, is painfully dull. Major doses of pedohysteria, too. Won't SOMEBODY think of the children???

* Opening your horror film with seven minutes of genuine atrocity footage is a really, really concrete way to make the subsequent film feel frivolous.

* Turning point is the creepy piñata scene; the film eventually overcomes its handicaps through taut, assured direction by Narciso Ibáñez Serrador, razor-sharp editing and its willingness to undermine its own previously mentioned pedohysteria. Essentially, the grimmer and more frantic the protagonists become, the better the film gets.

* I'm a bit confused on what happens to the wife near the film's end. But if it's what I think it is... oof.

Grade: B


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