Horror genre about the wicked child feeling exhausted like Final Girl tripping over a tree branch.
Movies like “The Grudge”, “Eli”, “The Ring”, “Goodnight Mommy” and “Orphan” allow the little ones to assign Freddy, Jason and co. Vacation.
“The Innocents” humiliated them all, pumping fresh blood into the grueling genre.
Norwegian horror film about children who display special powers without the morals to rule them. What is the result? An unsettling look at childhood, albeit one with icy pacing.
Young Ida (Rakel Lenora Fløttum) has a severely disabled sister (Alva Brynsmo Ramstad) and has no friends in her new community. Enter Ben (Sam Ashraf), a quiet but powerful guy with a secret. He can move objects with his mind.
He also has a tendency to hurt animals to pass the time.
Another kid, Aisha (Mina Yasmin Bremseth Asheim), prides herself on her own abilities that cannot be spoiled here. Together, the children explore the limits of their gifts before turning them into other gifts.
Writer/director Eskil Vogt (co-writer, “Thelma”) is very careful to avoid strong superhero-like developments. He’s also adamant about keeping the pace uncomfortably slow. It’s amazing how he ignites the gentle rhythms of this community and is slow to realize that these children possess consequential gifts.
If not? It’s a drag and deserves a subtle edit.
The young cast couldn’t have been better, or more chill. Each delivers a raw, unfiltered performance for increased horror. And it’s a horror movie, with twisted bodies and gruesome plot twists that don’t rely on gore or fake scares.
However, the quiet beauty of a child is part of the story. Simple fun to explore, be it a cute new trick or just another kid eager to connect. The main characters may be intrigued by their powers, but they want to play outside rather than mull over the range of their abilities.
Perhaps the scariest moments involve the random cruelty these kids embrace without harnessing their budding powers.
Adults play a small role here, but that’s no coincidence. These kids have to grow up and fast, and it’s another layer of pain to witness that reality. Vogt is sharing something tragic about his childhood in the 21st century, but he’s doing so in a sly, mature way.
There are too many children reaching adulthood in our current culture.
“The Innocents” may be lengthy, but its explosive moments and haunting atmosphere dampen those complaints.
Hit or miss: “The Innocents” refuses to follow the horror play, and the results are disturbing and unforgettable.