Story: Grace (Naomi Watts) is pausing her current life path, which includes medical school, to return to her small hometown and help her family. Her mother June (Karen Black) needs assistance badly, as she has agoraphobia, but also numerous medical issues, so she needs an in home caregiver. While she’s in town, she takes an internship with local physician Dr. Larson (William Windom) and can certainly use the extra set of hands. Overnight, all of the town’s children have become feverish and started to have various hallucinations. The children sometimes insist they’re not themselves, but it is brushed off as a byproduct of the fever, at least until the kids start to turn on the adults. Can anyone stop the cornfield child cult before it takes root once more, or will He Who Walks Behind the Rows once again enjoy a blood soaked reign of terror?
Entertainment Value: After two mostly fun, b movie installments of Children of the Corn, this fourth installment in the cornfield child cult series begins the decline of the franchise. The narrative stays within the basic wheelhouse of the series, but tries to weave in a thread about a vengeful spirit, which falls flat. Even so, the stories in this franchise aren’t the draw, instead we want creepy kids carrying out religious madness, tons of corn, and some fun kills, though sadly, The Gathering fails to deliver on those elements as well. The tone here is serious, but in a dull way, rather than wooden or overly dramatic ways, leaving a rather boring, often slow experience. A few moments dial up the camp a little and those are the highlights, but they’re rare and not nearly enough of them are present here. The cast has some marquee names involved however, with Naomi Watts and Karen Black on deck, though again, the movie does little with that potential. I think the cast performs well, but no one tries to ramp up the material, so the efforts are passable at best. I was hoping for more wacky, b movie type horror thrills here, but in the end, The Gathering fails to earn a recommendation.
No nakedness. There is some red stuff in this sequel, but I should mention much of the violence happens off screen, so that was a let down. But we do have pitchfork trauma, an angry grandfather cleaved in ‘twain, a nasty scythe assault, and some other more minor instances as well. While a couple of the kills are interesting, most are either dull or happen out of our sight, which is a shame. As badly as this movie needs entertainment value, some creative or over the top kill scenes could have worked wonders, at least I think so. The dialogue is basic and forgettable, with little in terms of snappy exchanges or one liners, just mundane stuff, for the most part. As for general wackiness, this sequel keeps the wackiness buttoned down, so there isn’t much to talk about on that front. What little weirdness there is include an ominous basketball, children with knives, a lot of corn, and of course, murderous flooring.
Overall Insanity: 1/10
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