Horrorland is a column within Cinema Quarantino, the Hassle’s ongoing series of alternative streaming picks for the self-quarantined and the socially distanced, in which Hassle film staff writer Alexis den Boggende delves into the ins, outs, and deeper meanings within the horror genre.
THE FILMS: Sinister (2012) Scott Derrickson | It: Chapter One (2017) dir. Andy Muschietti | The Ring (2002) dir. Gore Verbinski | Orphan (2009) dir. Jaume Collet-Serra | The Babadook (2014) dir. Jennifer Kent
THE STREAMER: Amazon Prime
Kids in horror movies are a special kind of creepy. From slaughtering their entire family to summoning demonic beasts, these kids have become a symbol of innocence turned on its head. Maybe that’s what makes them so horrifying to watch—in appearance, they are the pinnacle of purity. Young, wide-eyed. How much damage can a kid really do? Well, in the list below of some of the creepiest kids in horror, they do enough.
DIR. SCOTT DERRICKSON
Ellison Oswalt (Ethan Hawke) is a washed-up, selfish true crime writer that’s just moved his two young children and naive wife into a new home—the very home where his latest book subject took place. His quiet daughter Ashley (Clare Foley) paints pictures on the walls. Her favorite thing to paint, unfortunately, is the picture of the little girl who’s gone missing from the crime scene that Ellison’s writing about. Unfortunately for the Oswalt family, Ashley knows more than she lets on, and painting dead girls on the walls isn’t the worst of it.
Foley brought an unsettling quiet to her character that let her fly under the radar to create an incredible twist.
IT: CHAPTER ONE (2007)
DIR. ANDY MUSCHIETTI
Based on Stephen King’s novel, It follows the Losers, a gang of misfit neighborhood kids in the hazy summer of 1988 in the town of Derry, Maine, who are hunting down the clown creature that tore off the arm and devoured Georgie, the brother of one of the members of the Losers, Bill. Since his brother’s death, Bill is haunted by visions of Georgie.
Georgie, an adorable, sympathetic character in the beginning, becomes the most terrifying after one particular scene in the basement where he appears as a specter created by It, screaming, “You’ll float too.”
THE RING (2002)
DIR. GORE VERBINSKI
Everyone knows the line, “seven days”—the threat that Samara Morgan, the antagonist of The Ring, will climb out of the television and slaughter them. The Ring follows Rachel Keller (Naomi Watts), who looks way too far into her niece’s death, resulting in a visit from Samara.
There’s something about a girl crawling Regan MacNeil-style out of the television that really creates a legendary character out of Samara.
DIR. JAMUE COLLET-SERRA
Orphan follows Kate and John (Vera Farmiga and Peter Sarsgaard), a couple with a rocky relationship that recently suffered a miscarriage. They adopt Esther (Isabelle Furman), a seemingly polite, well-dressed little girl who charms them instantly. Though, the question is—what is Esther hiding behind those ribbons on her neck and wrists?
Esther’s ability to appear as innocent, charming and the cure to Kate and John’s grief causes her character to have an even more powerful blow to the film.
THE BABADOOK (2014)
DIR. JENNIFER KENT
The Babadook is one of those films that really bother me because it creates a sickening conception of grief and horror. The Australian flick follows Amelia (Essie Davis), an exhausted, grieving widow as she raises her chaotic son Samuel (Noah Wiseman), for whom she blames her husband’s death. When Samuel asks her to read a mysterious book from his bookshelf about a talon-clawed monster that haunts those who know of him, Amelia begins to realize it may not all be so fictional.
Samuel is a nightmare. A literal nightmare.
dir. Scott Derrickson
It: Chapter One
dir. Andy Muschietti
dir. Gore Verbinski
dir. Jaume Collet-Serra
dir. Jennifer Kent
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