Thursday, August 19, 2010

Children of the Corn V: Fields of Terror

Let’s talk direct-to-video sequels for a minute, here.

Most of these things should be both much better and much worse than they are. Worse because the budget is often something like one-tenth of the original.

Better, because they’re often made by the new and hungry, who are calling in every favor they have so that the movie will come out awesome, which will impress people, so their next movie has actual money and a theatrical release date behind it.

A decent hour of television around the time (1998) this movie came out probably cost somewhere around a million bucks. That’s per episode. But if I had to guess, I’d say most of these “Corn” movies probably came in at a cost of maybe a half-mil.

Perhaps less.

The thing is, though, V is a bit of an anomaly. It was written and directed by Ethan Wiley, who wrote the minor hit “House” in the 80s. And then went into a bit of a fallow period. Or at least, nothing he was trying to get made GOT made. If you check out his IMDB information, after he wrote “House II” in 1987, there’s nothing on his resume until this movie.

After that, there’s another 10-year gap before his next project.

So I have to imagine that the guy really, really, really wanted this one.

But there were, of course, some obstacles.

Let’s start with the previous movies. 1 and 2 kind of fit together, although the passage of time between the two movies horks things up a bit.

Then we’ve got III, which is tied to the previous movies in only the most tenuous of ways, but which still has a killer ending that could have led to a whole new offshoot for the series.

This led to IV, which doesn’t tie to III. Or as near as I can tell, to 2 or 1 either. Mostly because they forgot to even mention “He Who Walks Behind the Rows.”

Wouldn’t it be neat if our new friend Ethan decided to try to tie it all together?

Sure. Let’s give it a go.

Ethan gets one thing right, from the first moment. The movie starts in a corn field. We’re in a point-of-view shot, walking through the corn. Then we’re not anymore. Instead, we’re watching a hand crush a flower that is, I guess, in the corn field.

Now it’s night. Shot of the moon. Credits.

Still night, but back to the corn. A kid is walking through the corn. In the dark. So that we can barely see him. Plus the credits are still rolling.

The kid gets to a small fire pit located in the heart of the corn, while the credits remind us that this movie is TOTALLY based on a Stephen King story.

The kid approaches the fire, which, a couple of times, turns a little greenish. He gets within about a foot of the fire, and green sparks shoot out of it, flowing into the kid’s chest.

The kid falls over. The fire goes back to being a normal fire.

The kid opens his eyes. There’s green fire in them.

Now we’re looking at a house. It’s the middle of a rainstorm and a burn-in on the screen tells us that it’s one year later.

You know, is that an exact thing? Has it been exactly 365 days since the event we just had to sit through?

Regardless, we’re in POV-Cam mode again, approaching the house. And then, it’s just inside the house. It’s pretty dark in there, though no mention is made of saving electricity, or the power being out, or whatever.

Instead, a man and a woman talk about the fact that the man found one of their heifers with its throat slit by their property line. Third one this month. He mentions something about “kids” and “Luke’s place.”

Back to spooky-cam outside. There’s a thump inside the house. The man decides to “check it out.” With his shotgun. And a raincoat and rain-hat.

He walks for a second, and spots the kid we just met in the opening scene. The man asks what the kid is doing there. The kid says, “That corn field belongs to us.”

The kid lifts his hand, and the farmer is lifted up in the air, where he’s struck by a bunch of lightning. The kid drops him. He dead.

His wife, in the meantime, has run out into the rain. She stands there while more kids approach. They beat her to death. I guess she wasn’t worthy of being killed via magic. You’ve gotta earn that kind of death.

Then we’re somewhere else, by cracky. A bad road. And it’s day now. A guy and a girl are driving along in a convertible. He’s playing with an inflatable doll. You know the kind. They pull over, and he puts the doll on a road sign.

We leave the happy couple, and meet four new people in ANOTHER vehicle. Well, five, if you count Kurt, the dead guy in the urn. There are two guys in the car, and two girls, but we don’t get a name for any of them. Even the subtitles don’t give you a clue. So let’s move on.

We’re back with the man and woman, who stop to put yet ANOTHER doll up pointing where the other car is supposed to go. This has to be the most expensive way to give directions ever.

The guy looks away from the girl for a second, and when he looks back, she’s gone. Did I mention that we had another corn-POV shot of the girl just before that? We did.

The dude wanders around, looking for his lady. He walks right by a sign that says No Trespassing. Ah, and there she is. She’s just taking some corn from inside the field. Never mind that there’s plenty right at the edge. And that they don’t seem to be headed anywhere that they can actually use the corn.

The music is getting ominous, and she sees kids running through the corn. She yells to the dude. He yells to her. Yet, they don’t hear each other. As we all know, corn is a natural sound barrier.

Finally, a random kid we’ve never seen before cuts her up with a small scythe and she dies.

Dude walks through the corn and sees a clearing. His dead lady and a few kids are there.

Possessed kid comes out of the corn and admonishes the killer kid for killing. The dude runs. Two other kids catch him and kill him. Killer kid also has a whack at the dude.

We’re 13 minutes into the movie, and four people are dead and one is possessed. Not bad.

Now it’s time for a shot of the gas pump that the dude was attaching the inflatable doll of love to. The doll is gone.

Back to the other car. The people in it are all lost, because there are no dolls to guide them. Until the “lost” doll suddenly appears in their windshield.

There’s screaming and swerving.

The car goes into a ditch.

Everyone tumbles out. Kurt is out of his urn and onto his ex-girlfriend. Otherwise, everyone is okay.

Ex-girlfriend smells something funny, and wonders what it is. Possessed kid comes out of the corn and says it’s none of their business. The kid tells them that they don’t have a phone, they’re on private property, and town’s about a mile “that way.”

Conversation over, the kid and his backup leave.

Our “heroes” get their stuff out of the car and head to town.

In town, the heroes find Kurt’s favorite dive bar, and head in for a beer.

Ex-girlfriend goes to wash up.

I’m gonna go bonkers if I don’t throw names on these people, so….

The driver is named Greg. Other dude is named Tyrus. Ex-girlfriend is Kir. And Other girl is named Allison.

There, I just gave you more than both the movie and the subtitles have offered you up to this point. You’re welcome.

Greg asks the bartender for beer. Allison asks for a tow truck. It seems that the truck is out of commission.

They also ask about their friends, but the bartender says they haven’t seen them. The bartender, by the by, it played by Kane Hodder, who is best known as Jason is a handful of the Friday the 13th movies. Mostly the ones that no one is actually a fan of.

Even more funny? He had a small role in “House IV.” This makes the horror movie circle complete.

Greg, already bored by talking about their missing friends, tells the bartender that the town smells like burnt popcorn. This allows some other dude in the bar to babble on about how a corn silo exploded, and how they can burn for months.

The silo is located on Lucas Enright’s farm. It seems he’s a “queer duck” who keeps to himself. Him and his smattering of “adopted children” who work on the farm. They’re also religious nuts who worship “He Who Walks Behind the Rows.”

Dude, wipe your mouth. You got some exposition barf on yourself.

Allison picks up on the “He Who Walks” bit. She seems to know something. Kir and Tyrus come back to the bar, and Allison says they should go. Near as I can tell, they don’t even pay for their drinks.

They get outside, and a local cop asks if they’re lost. They tell him about their car, and he says he can’t help. Also, if they run, they can just make it to the bus. Only they don’t. So they walk back to the car.

They get there. It’s on fire.

This makes Greg more sad than his dead friend’s ashes flying all over.

Allison says she thought she saw a house down the road – she’s thinking there might be a phone they can use.

Um… er…

Who are they going to call? The cops? Dude clearly wasn’t all that interested in their plight. Their friend? This is a time before cell phones were prevalent. I swear, this woman is bonkers.

Whatever. They walk. They get to the house. It appears to be deserted. In fact, it is deserted, since it belonged to the man and woman who were killed in the first five minutes of the movie. Not that the director makes it easy to figure this out, since he manages to shoot the house in the most generic way possible, and include no helpful hints as to who the house belonged to.

Allison votes that they stay there for the night, and catch the bus in the morning. They go in, and somehow locate a lamp. Which they light.

Other things they find in the house: The beds are all fully made, the water is still on, and the pantry has food in it. Including fruit cocktail and Smeat. Which might be a Spam joke.

Also found? Beer.

The group eats. They blabber about the fact that Kurt died in a bungee-jumping accident, and Allison refuses to drink a beer. Turns out Allison found a suicide note. She hid it before anyone could find it. Which begs the question: How do you commit suicide while bungee jumping? Do you tip the person tying you up to do a bad job?

This makes Kir mad. Or sad. Some combination of the two. Tyrus puts her in bed, and he’s about the leave, but she says she doesn’t want to be alone. And she kisses him. You can tell she’s into it because she’s breathing. Not heavy or anything, but she’s definitely converting oxygen to carbon dioxide.

Outside, Greg does something that resembles confronting Allison about Kurt’s suicide note. Allison would rather talk about her brother. It seems her dad was a mean drunk, and as soon as she could, she moved out. Dad got worse, and took it out on her brother, Jacob. So he ran away, when he was about 14.

The last thing he said to Allison was that he was devoting his life to “He Who Walks Behind the Rows.”

Night falls further. Evil-POV-cam stalks around the house while everyone sleeps.

Allison wakes up because she hears a noise. So does Kir, who’s lying in bed with Tyrus. She grabs the sheet and walks to the window. She opens the curtain. Someone is outside.

She screams and falls back. Allison comes in, and Kir says there was a man at the window. Allison says she’s going to go get Greg, and be right back. She does not comment on the naked people who clearly had man-woman relations. Or just cuddled.

Outside, Allison and Greg shine a flashlight they found somewhere around in the dark. Allison finds a muddy handprint on the side of the house.

They hear a noise, and head away from the house. They don’t bother to tell their friends where they’re going.

Eventually, they find some kind of machine. Allison sees blood on some corn in the machine. Corn falls away, and there’s their dead female friend. This makes Allison sad. Oh. And there’s the dude.

The next day, the sheriff shows up, and he and a deputy throw the dead bodies in the back of the sheriff’s truck. Here’s a question: How did they CALL the sheriff? Is the phone still working? If so, why did none of them call, say, their PARENTS or some other FRIENDS about a ride home?

The four teens (are they teens?) confront the sheriff, who accuses them of (I think) getting drunk and playing with farm equipment, which somehow ended with their two friends dead.

Rather than, say, arrest them for accidental death, or public intoxication, or squatting, he just demands they all get out of town on the 8 AM bus.

Of course, town is a mile away, and it’s really light outside, so I guess that means they get an extra day to bum around.

Or not. The guys start to walk away, and Allison says she’s staying. She wants to find out what’s up with her brother. Greg also wants to stay. Tyrus doesn’t, really.

But he hangs out anyway.

I’m sure we’re supposed to infer some sort of friendship dynamic here, but you got me what it is. I don’t know if he’s staying there for Allison, or if he’s staying there because Kir wants to stay (she doesn’t say anything).


The foursome walk to the other farm, and confront possessed kid. Allison says she wants to talk to her brother. Possessed kid says he brother doesn’t want to see her. She asks if they should get the police involved. The kid says no, and leads the way.

They go to the house. Allison heads in. The rest of them are blocked from entrance.

Greg feels uncomfortable, and decides to wander off so Tyrus and Kir can talk. Tyrus tells Kir it wasn’t just a one night stand for him. Kir says it was for her. Then she wanders off. Not forcefully, or with acting, or anything. More like she thought she saw a cute squirrel and wanted to check it out.

Possessed kid takes Allison to Enright. Enright says that the people in town think he’s nuts. But no. All that happened was, he found a baby left to die in the corn, and took the kid in and raised him as his own. Then his corn exploded, and the fire “guided” a bunch of lost, abused children to him. So that he could care for him and teach them to worship “He Who Walks Behind the Rows.”

And with that, the movie abandons all pretense of having anything to do with any of the other movies. Just for a start, we have an adult leader. This guy should be mega-dead by now.

Allison says she wants to see her brother. Enright says to go ahead, as they have no secrets. The possessed kid, whose name is Ezekiel, is charged with taking Allison to Jacob.

Somewhere else, Greg wanders around alone. Never mind that they found their two friends, dead, like 12 hours ago.

He’s confronted by the killer kid, who has an axe. But he manages to walk away with all his bits intact.

Kir, meanwhile, goes to talk to another kid, named Zane. Zane says that he can tell Kir is hurting. Kir breaks down crying. So Zane starts the brainwashing process. Kir stops crying, and says she has to go back to her friends.

Inside the house, Allison talks to Jacob. She asks Ezekiel for privacy. He leaves. Allison tells Jacob happy birthday. His birthday is actually tomorrow. Oh, and dad is dead. Jacob says that this is his family now. And he’s got a wife. Enright chose her to bear Jacob’s child.

Allison asks if he loves his wife. He says yes.

There’s also a whole thing about how children are awesome, and at the age of 18 they enter the age of sin. He turns 18 tomorrow. Allison asks the obvious question: If over 18=evil, then is Enright evil?

Jacob is about to answer, when Ezekiel comes in and says Allison has to leave right now.

So she goes to leave. Jacob tells her to wait. He gives her a book, after writing something in it. He says it will help her to understand.

Allison leaves. All her friends are sitting around on the front steps. They go back to their squatting residence.

Kir reads them some of the book, and says it makes a lot of sense. Basically, kids are born pure, and their evil, tainted parents turn them evil.

Tyrus points out that two of their friends are dead, and he doesn’t want that to happen again, so he’s getting out of town. Kir says she’ll go with. Greg wants to stay behind, but Allison says she’ll figure something out, and tells him to go.

So the three of them head to the bus stop.

Allison starts reading the book, which basically starts with, “When you’re 18, you die.”

She finally looks at what her brother wrote. What is it? Doesn’t matter. All that matters is that there are four letters along the left-hand side that spell out “HELP.”

Allison freaks out. She gets ready to take action, only there’s the sheriff, in the house, reminding her that he wanted her on the bus.

At the bus stop, the three other friends hang out and look mopey. Well, except for Kir, who just looks kind of blank, still.

So, without discussing it, they head back to the house. Greg and Tyrus go in. Kir waits outside.

Inside, it’s already pretty dark, and Allison is gone.

Tyrus and Greg head outside, and find out Kir is gone as well. Amusingly, Tyrus blames the kids right off, and says, “First it was Allison, now it’s Kir.” Like it’s a big conspiracy. Allison could be in the bathroom, for all they know.

At the other farm, all the kids are standing by the still-on-fire corn silo. Ezekiel says some stuff, and tells Jacob to jump in the silo while his pregnant wife stands nearby. Jacob says he can’t do the jumping thing.

Jacob says he thought he was free to go whenever he wanted. Ezekiel tells him sure, but Jacob has nowhere to go. Jacob asks his “wife” to come with him, and she says that “this” is her family.

Then Jacob walks away.

Ezekiel asks for the next person who is going to be 18 to step up and take Jacob’s place. Kir is there, and she calls out that she’s going to be 18.

Uh… what now? She walked into a bar and ordered a beer. I’m pretty sure she’s in her 20s at least. (24, according to the IMDB.) Maybe she just didn’t understand the question. Up to this point, most things, including human emotion, have appeared to elude her.

Ezekiel asks why she wants to jump into the fire, and she basically says it’s her purpose. Also, she thinks Kurt is waiting for her there. Yeah. Sure. Perhaps she needs to learn a little more about how the cremation process works.

Jacob gets found by a couple kids, who beat him to a pulp.

Kir climbs up the silo, while the boys look up her super-short dress. It’s a great day for them. They get to see underpants, and they don’t have to jump into fire.

Kir climbs up, and looks down at the fire, which has a greenish glow to it. Bet you forgot about that. The green glow.

Kir jumps into the fire.

Jacob hangs by his arms in the barn. Ezekiel does some, “You done WRONG!” talking, and gives him a good stab in the leg with a knife. Apparently Jacob is going to be made into a scarecrow.

Ezekiel tells one of his thugs to cut Jacob’s throat and put Jacob in the cornfield. Ezekiel leaves. Jacob kicks the thug in the face, knocking the dude out, and frees himself from his ropes.

He passes out in the barn from stab wound pain.

Later than night, Allison, the sheriff, the deputy, and a fire truck show up. They say they have a warrant. The sheriff shoves Ezekiel out of the way and says he needs to talk to Enright.

Enright says that if they put out the fire, they will have to face “His” fury. The sheriff asks if Enright is threatening him. Enright says he’s trying to save the sheriff.

The fire people get their hose ready and prepare to wet that silo down. But instead, the fire sets the dude with the hose aflame. He screams. He falls. Another dude grabs a hose and gets ready to do some dousing.

He, too, gets set alight.

The sheriff pulls Enright out of his chair for “threatening an officer.” Enright starts to get freaked, and says, “It is out of my hands, now.”

Hey, remember when Ezekiel did that magic? I mean, he’s still in the room. Any reason he hasn’t gone all killer-y yet?

Enright’s head splits in half. A little worm shoots up his neck, and fires flames into the sheriff’s face, which burn a hole right through his head. Dude. Duuude.

Both the sheriff and Enright fall to the ground, dead. Ezekiel tells Allison not to feel bad for Enright. He’s been dead for years.

Allison accuses Ezekiel of… something. And Ezekiel says they all have skeletons in their closet, but he was able to put his “to good use.” As their leader.

And let’s talk for a minute, because logic has abandoned this movie.

Here are the various problems:

First: Why kill their two friends? I suppose you could argue that they were in the corn when they weren’t supposed to be, but if they’re trying to avoid drawing attention to themselves killing a couple of people really isn’t the way to do it.

Second: Why throw the doll at their friends? They really had no way to know that these four outsiders were an any way related to the first group.

Third: How long has that corn silo been burning? Because here’s what we know. “One year ago,” Ezekiel, for whom we have no history, walked into the corn field and was possessed by a green light in some corn. Then, one year later, he killed to the two farmers one farm over.

Then, a short while later, these other kids entered his life. And he corn exploded. Or…

Wait. It could go something like this: Ezekiel, a runaway kid, ends up in a corn field at night. He Who Walks Behind the Rows, in a form of a campfire, takes him over. A year passes. The fire is then somehow transferred to the corn silo. A bunch of kids are drawn to the farm, magically, by He Who Walks.

Okay, that all makes some sense. Except then there’s Jacob, who is just about to turn 18. He left home when he was 14, to join this particular cult.

Now, it could be argued that they’ve been there for three years, except one would think that at some point the folks in town would start to wonder why the silo had been burning for three years. Also, and more importantly, Jacob hasn’t done three years worth of aging. In the flick, I’d put his age at around 13, and that’s when heavy growth spurts start. So he should have grown somewhat in the intervening years.

Unless being possessed by He Who Walks makes you not age. Which would also sorta-kinda work, until you get to the end of the movie. So remember this, because I’ll come back to it.

Outside, the deputy hears something. He goes to check it out. One of the kids kills him.

Allison goes outside, carrying the sheriff’s shotgun. She shoots and kills one kid. Fends off another. Greg hits that kid in the head.

They run off. Tyrus is in the sheriff’s car, which has no keys. He wants to know where Kir is. The remaining kids run up, ready to do themselves some outsider-killin’.

The teens run. The kids chase. Everyone heads into the corn. The teens get out of the corn, and head into the barn. They find Jacob. Allison tells him this is all her fault. Jacob says no, Allison tried to protect him.

Allison asks if Jacob knew about Ezekiel and all the killings. Jacob doesn’t say anything. He tells her they can fight fire with fire. He mentions to storage shed. Then he dies.

Greg and Tyrus find their friend’s car. It won’t start. Greg looks under the hood. Outside, some of the children of the corn realize the teens are in the barn.

Elsewhere (how big is this barn?) Allison wanders around with a flashlight (how did she find it?). She locates fertilizer.

One of the kids outside tries to chop his way into the barn. Tyrus fights him off with a chainsaw.

Tyrus gets attacked (and killed) from behind. The kid picks up the chainsaw and goes after Allison.

Allison runs up to the second level of the barn, hits the kid with a board, and knocks him off the second level and onto some kind of farming thing with lots of sharp points.

Elsewhere in the barn, Greg is lying under the car, trying to fix it. Somehow. He sees shoes on both sides of the car. Two kids come down, one of either side. One has a drill. The other one has a blowtorch.

Greg grabs the torch out of the one kid’s hand, and gets a drill in the leg. He pulls the gas line out of the car, and lights it up with the torch. His final line? “I got your eternal flame right here.”

The barn goes boom. Allison is thrown out of the barn. She goes to get the fertilizer.

In the house, Ezekiel talks to all the kids about how it’s time to get while the getting is good, and join He Who Walks Behind the Rows in a better place.

The kids head outside, where they find Allison climbing up the ladder to the silo, fertilizer in hand. They just stand there, watching and wondering how this tiny chick is carrying 50 pounds of fertilizer up a rickety wooden ladder. She gets up to the top, opens the silo doors, and gets ready to toss the fertilizer in.

Ezekiel attacks her with a metal hook. They grapple. Allison gets the hook, hooks Ezekiel, and throws Ezekiel into the fire. He yells out, “My precious!”

Okay, not really.

Allison throws in the fertilizer. She closes the silo doors. The fire goes “boom,” and she gets knocked off the platform. She grabs the side, and dangles for, like, a second. Then she pulls herself up.

She opens the silo doors. The fire is out.

She goes down the ladder, and finds all the kids on the bottom. Her brother’s baby mama asks if Ezekiel joined He Who Walks Behind the Rows. Another girl asks if they can go. Allison says, “He might have,” and “I don’t think it’s your time yet.”

She and the kids walk away from the silo.

Some time later: Allison rings a doorbell, and a man lets her in. She gets to meet her nephew. Turns out the mom’s name is Lilly. They’re giving the baby to Allison, because Lilly is, you know, a kid. And adoption works that way. (In the movie world.)

The family leaves so that Allison and the kid can get to know each other. Allison sings “Hush Little Baby” to the kid. And we move in his eyes. What’s coming? Come on. You’re a smart one.

Right. Green flames. Kid is totally being possessed. Which means, if we try to follow the timeline of this movie properly, that he will never age. Which should make part six pretty cool, as all the kids try to follow the will of a child incapable of speech.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Children of the Corn IV: The Gathering

Let’s recap a few endings, here:

Movie 1: There are still kids alive in Gatlin, and a couple who aren’t married take the two normal children off with them.

Movie 2: The couple (though not the kids) are mentioned but never seen, and the remaining kids kill everyone in the next town over. A reporter, his kid, and their respective girlfriends all drive away. Most of the kids live.

Movie 3: At least, one of the kids lives, because he has been around for every major slaughter in Gatlin, because I guess there have been a bunch. His adopted brother lives, as does his girlfriend, but his foster parents are dead, and so are her parents. The evil corn, however, is about to go worldwide.

What we have here are called “dangling plot threads.” If anyone actually cared about any kind of continuity, this movie would trying to tie all these different stories together. But since the only elements anyone seems to think are important are children and corn, well, no one is going to make an attempt.

And I still have no idea what year it is.

What I can tell you is, even the movie doesn’t know what its title is. The box, and the DVD information, say this is “Children of the Corn IV: The Gathering.” But the movie itself, as the credits roll, insists that it’s just: “Children of the Corn: The Gathering.”

I realize that kind of thing is nitpicky, but isn’t that why we’re all here?

As our story begins, an older woman is standing inside her house. There’s a boy outside, who holds up his hand. It has a cut in it. He says one word: “Help.”

The kindly matron invites him in, then tells him to go sit down. She goes to the medicine cabinet to get cut-fixing stuff, and knocks over a glass, which shatters in the sink. She is not harmed by this glass in any way.

I find it sad that the movie is desperate to get us to jump this early on in the flick, but can’t afford a black cat to come leaping out at us.

She goes back to the kid and sticks a thermometer in his mouth because he felt hot to her. He starts to tend to the wound, not noticing the sweat dripping off the kid’s brow, or the blood coming out of his mouth.

The kid stands up, the thermometer falls out of his mouth, and it shatters on the floor. She’s gonna need to call a HAZMAT team, get rid of the mercury.

The kid falls over, revealing other bloody patches on his shirt. The woman backs up. The kid starts to turn into… something-or-other. A monster-type thing, I guess.

The woman runs. The monster attacks.

The woman wakes up. Wow. Dream sequence. At the very start of the movie. Perhaps it’s that corn, the stuff that was going bad? Could it be?

Probably not.

The credits roll, and remind us that this series is still, they totally swear for serious, based on a short story by Stephen King.

Eventually, the credits stop rolling over black, and start rolling over footage of a woman in her 20s driving through country and city roads in her car. She reaches the place where the lady who has bad dreams lives, and says, “Welcome home.” To herself.

She greets the bad dreams lady, and we learn our new friend is named Grace. Bad Dreams Lady is her mom.

Then the movie just starts whipping characters at us. We meet Grace’s sister and brother, who are both WAY younger than she is. By maybe 10 years. The kids are named Margaret and James.

Also in the room is “Doc,” who seems to have no other name, but who happens to be sitting with mom when Grace comes in. Doc asks Grace to walk him out. Then we get a flash-cut of mom’s nightmares, because this movie is supposed to be scary, and not a family drama. (Note: These flash-cuts happen CONSTANTLY in this movie. I refuse to mention it every time it happens, because this thing would be twice as long. If you really want the same effect, convince a friend to sneak up behind you and yell BOO at you once every three minutes or so.)

Doc and Grace talk. Mom is scared to go past the end of her walkway. They need to try and fix that. And Grace doesn’t have any money coming in, so Doc says she can have her old job back, working for him.

Jane and Rosa Nock, two women who appear to be about 107 years old, also drop off something in Mom’s mailbox. They’re nice old ladies, it seems.

Doc leaves.

Later that evening, some dude we’ve never seen before walks through a large field of sorghum. No, I’m kidding. It’s corn.

He takes a drink from a bottle filled with hooch, and heads into what appears to be a barn. He breaks into a well in the barn, and brings up a bucket of water. Inside the well is a dead dude, who opens his eyes when the water bucket goes by.

The drunk guy takes a drink of water, but it turns into bugs. So he starts to walk away.

Only he dropped his hooch. So he tries to reach it, but it fell behind some farming equipment.

In the well, the dead dude starts to climb the wall, but then fades out of existence.

In the barn, the drunk starts climbing under the farming equipment. Watch out for falling things made of blades, my friend.

He reaches the bottle, and rolls over. There’s a kid there, with some light burns on his face. The kid slams a scythe through some portion of the dude’s anatomy, but it’s tough to tell which part.

The kid tells the man that “he” will send angels to those who drink strong drink. Then the kid waves his hands around a bit, and a pitchfork, a shovel, and machete, all of which are tied up over the dude’s head on a rafter, fall and impale the drunk in various body parts.

Then he takes a scythe and chops into the guy, as the movie cuts away.

To where? To Grace, who is putting Margaret to bed, while talking to her brother James about Charles Manson.

Margaret confesses that she likes Margaret better than mom.

Grace talks to Mom, and Mom recounts the dream she had about the boy. Grace tells mom to take her medication.

In the barn, the freaky kid-demon-thing collects some blood from the now-very-hacked-up drunk dude. He draws a cross on his hand using the blood. The cross starts on fire. The Demon blows it out.

Margaret moans in her sleep. Grace cleans up the house, complaining that no one there seems to know about recycling. Margaret goes to see Grace. She has a fever. Mom finds Grace. James also has a fever.

Grace’s friend comes to visit. They talk about a bunch of stuff that may or may not be important. But the movie doesn’t bother to tell us the friend’s name, even though we learn she works at a school now.

The next morning, Mom takes the papers to the end of the walkway. Burn-boy is standing in the corn, watching her.

Grace goes to work at Grand Island Community Clinic.

Um… Gatlin, anyone? We appear to have forgotten about it.

Grace tries to get a kid named Michael to stick a thermometer in his mouth. He says no.

The phone rings. There’s a parent with a sick kid on the other end.

Grace looks around the waiting room. There are a ton of sick kids there.

In an actual doctor-place, Doc talks to a kid who has the same thing all the other kids have, plus hemophilia. Wow. That’s going to be a nauseating sequence, when we get back to that kid.

Doc decides to keep the really sick kids at the clinic overnight.

Later that evening, we get a shot of a bottle of pills, and learn that Mom is actually named June, and also yes, they really do live in Nebraska, so at least they got the STATE right, if not the city. That has to count for something, right?

Oh, and her prescription is “Sleeping Pills.” Way to do research, you chucklehead screenwriters. You could have at least made up a drug name.

June takes a pill. Then she takes two more.

Night falls. Demon Kid, who is in the barn again, says, “Come to me.” Then dead drunk guy starts on fire.

We get shots of various kids moaning in their sleep.

At the clinic, Doc and Grace take temperatures. They have four kids, who all have a temp of 103. They’re hot blooded, as the doctors have just checked and saw. (Ye cats, that was a long way to go for a joke.)

The feverish kids call out to their parents in their sleep.

All the kids’ temps keep going up.

Doc tells Grace to prep an ice bath. She does.

Demon-kid does a flashy thing.

Moms everywhere stick their kids in ice baths.

Grace has a vision of Margaret in a bath full of blood.

Margaret kind of flies up in the air and calls to Grace. She falls back on the bed and goes to sleep.

All the kids’ fevers break.

Grace goes home to get some sleep. She walks into her room. There’s someone in her room, and also Demon-kid, who does some freaky stuff and then vanishes.

Grace wakes up. Yet another dream sequence. Fun.

Doc says he’s going home to get some sleep, and tells Grace to keep an eye on the kids.

The next day, Grace and Doc send all the kids home.

June walks to the end of her walkway, saying a Hail Mary. Demon-kid is in the corn. June looks around, but doesn’t seem him.

That night, hemophilia-kid (his name is Marcus) is told to go to bed. He turns off the TV, and sees the reflection of the Demon-kid.

Marcus’s mom goes to tell him to turn off the TV, and he says he won’t be able to go when they move the next day. He opens the curtains to the patio door, revealing three kids who have white makeup on their faces. Are they dead? Demons? No idea.

Mom screams, and someone attacks her with a scythe, first cutting off her fingers and then slashing her up a bit. She screams, but Marcus just stands there, and dad is trapped in another room and can’t help.

Dad finally breaks in, but the scene is over.

Grace puts Margaret to bed, and sees some marks on Margaret. But Margaret claims she wasn’t playing with fire or poison ivy. So Grace leaves.

Back at Marcus’s house, the sheriff grills Marcus’s dad, Donald, about what happened. Marcus, meanwhile, climbs a nearby fence and walks off into the corn. The sheriff gives chase.

The sheriff walks around for a long while, to build tension. And because filming walking around is super-cheap. Finally, the sheriff says he’s going to count to three, and if Marcus doesn’t show up, Marcus is going to be in big trouble.

Marcus doesn’t come. Then Marcus does. He tosses the sheriff a burlap bundle. The sheriff opens it. It’s the drunk guy’s head. The sheriff freaks. Then Demon-kid (at least I guess it’s him, it’s hard to tell, given the only-semi-competent way the flick is shot) jams a scythe through the sheriff.

The sheriff dies.

Demon-boy walks off.

Marcus’s dad goes running through the corn, and finds the sheriff. He keeps on running.

At Grace’s house, Margaret looks for Grace. Grace feels her head. When she pulls her hands away, Margaret has wounds all over her face.

Grace wakes up. She was asleep on Margaret’s bed. Grace sits up. Margaret stabs her. Grace wakes up AGAIN.

Marcus’s dad, Donald, goes to the Nock sisters and says he needs a place to hide. It seems they’ve “heard” about his troubles, though I have no idea how, since they just started like an hour ago.

Regardless, they take Donald in.

The next day, Grace takes some blood from Margaret. She also tries to put some ointment on Margaret’s rash-thing. It hurts Margaret.

Doc shows up, and offers to help out, but Grace blows him off.

Grace drives Margaret to school, so they can listen to the radio and hear the Donald story.

Night falls. Doc goes to leave the office. A mom is there with her twin boys, who are acting all freaky. Among other things, they say that their real names aren’t their names.

Doc says they’re “pulling mom’s leg” and says he’ll keep them overnight, so their mom can get some sleep. Mom leaves. Doc verbally confronts the kids, but they still claim to not be who they are.

The confrontation continues. Turns out, the boys are using the names of a real set of twins that lived in the area years ago. They were killed by their dad. Doc says he’s going to recommend a vigorous spanking for the kids.

June tells Grace that she’s taking the pills, but things just keep on getting worse. The dreams, that is.

Meanwhile, Doc and the twins hash things out the only way they can be hashed out in a horror movie: with violence. There’s a locust. And the kids (including the evil unexplained kid) appear and disappear. It ends with bloody streaks on the door and Doc lying dead on a gurney.

Later that night, Grace goes to the clinic. She looks at a paper and gets all concerned. Then a gurney starts rolling around. Grace prepares to freak out and run. But she gets pulled into a room by Marcus’s dad, who we all pretty much forgot about. He wants to know where the kids are.

There’s some intense verbal sparring that comes out like so: Marcus was “infected” with something, and the blood tests Grace gave her sister don’t make any sense. All the kids have some kind of disease, and Marcus’s dad is of the opinion that what happened to Marcus is going to happen to all the other kids, too.

Dad leaves. Grace stands there, trying to figure out if the plot is too complicated, or nonsensically simple.

The next day, Grace takes more blood from her siblings. Then she drives them to school.

There’s a kid there dribbling a basketball in slow motion, so that it’ll be freaky. Grace goes to open the door for Margaret, and Margaret pulls out one of her teeth and says, “I’m not Margaret.”

At home, June looks out the window and sees a kid coming out of the corn. It’s a little girl. She knocks on the door, and shows June a wound on her elbow. The scene continues as an exact replica of the one at the opening of the movie, only the kid is a girl instead of a boy.

Well, that’s what happens until she gets downstairs, and sees that the girl is now the boy from the start of the movie. She runs out the door, to the end of her walkway, and then stops. The kid breaks a window in her door with a scythe, and she decides that to run is a good plan. She gets into her car and drives away.

Elsewhere, Grace drives her sister and brother to the hospital. Parents are lined up outside with all their kids.

Grace goes in and takes charge, even though she’s not a doctor. For some reason, she knows that Doc is gone, even though she doesn’t have, say, a note from him. Or his corpse.

She deputizes her friend from earlier in the movie as her new nurse.

Grace tells her friend that Margaret is spitting out blood and teeth. In answer, her friend spills an envelope of teeth into Grace’s hand. Grace tells her friend to take blood from the kids, give them gauze to chew on, and to find the Doc.

Out by a barn, Jenny sees her son, James, and pulls over. She goes into the freaky, freaky barn. She calls to James. She walks around.

Something that looks like a wet rope grabs her and drags her towards a pitchfork. The camera cuts away.

Back at the hospital, Grace takes another look at the blood tests and says that they appear to be mixed with “something dead.” She decides to take Margaret to Doc’s to figure out where he is.

Oh, and all the kid’s medical charts are missing. So there’s that.

Grace and Margaret are in the car, ready to drive away, when Donald, Marcus’s dad, shows up again, this time with a shotgun. He tells Grace to leave the kid behind, because he and Grace have “someplace to go.”

Grace tells Margaret to stay with Mary Anne. Which is the name of her friend.

Out in the corn, kids are walking. And not talking.

Grace and Donald go to visit the Nock sisters. They give Grace a picture of traveling preachers. It’s an old picture. The boy in the picture, who was born “of sin” to a young girl.

The preachers took him in, and he became Josiah, The Boy Preacher. It seems he was good at what he did, and made the preachers rich. The only thing was, the preachers would come back, year after year, and the boy was still just a boy.

Wow. That almost ties in with established mythology. That and the fact that it’s the harvest moon.

Back at the hospital, Mary Anne drops a blood sample, and the blood comes out of the test tube and… I can’t really tell. It looks like the blood is vanishing, but it’s unclear what, exactly, is going on.

The Nock sisters continue to talk about the boy who stayed a boy. It seems the traveling preachers did everything in their power to keep him young. Kept him from sleep. Fed him quicksilver. But none of that worked, so they abandoned him.

Er… what now? I thought they did something to keep him young. Kind of a black magic thing? No? That’s right, I’m watching this movie, right now, and typing, right now, and the sisters here have opted to change their story. The boy did NOT stay a boy, after all. The preachers abandoned him, and so he killed them with a scythe.

In turn, the town dragged the boy out into the cornfield and burned him. It seems he screamed way longer than he should have. The next morning, the Nock sisters collected all the bones and ashes of the kid and sealed them up in a well.

Now, Josiah is looking for a “like child,” and once Josiah finds that kid, well, it’s game over for everyone. He’ll take over all the kids.

The Nock sisters tell Grace to “take back the child.”

And who’s the like child? Margaret. Who isn’t Grace’s sister at all. Nope. She’s Grace’s daughter.

At the hospital, Mary Anne is experimenting with the blood samples. Which suddenly all pop their corks and overflow.

Mary Anne tries to run away, only to be attacked with various medical implements. And then killed by a flying scythe.

Grace and Donald make it to the hospital, and Grace runs through the halls calling to Margaret. There’s blood everywhere. Donald sees Mary Anne’s blood experiment, and tries to figure out what was going on. Turns out, the blood is afraid of “quicksilver” – which is actually mercury. There was mercury in Margaret’s filling, which is why her tooth fell out.

Donald asks where the supply closet is.

Back with the Nock sisters, one of them tells the other that “it’s time.” She continues: “Your boy’s come home.”

Out at the freaky barn, kids are gathering, and saying, “I bring him my flesh,” and cutting themselves and bleeding into what looks like a tub full of water.

Grace and Donald throw a bunch of stuff in a vehicle and make tracks. Donald breaks open thermometers and dumps the Mercury inside them into some shotgun shells.

At the barn, Margaret says that the “boy” is going to use her soul to lead them. Then she leans way over the tub o’ water and blood.

Marcus cuts himself, and sits around bleeding. Because, duh, hemophilia.

There’s a lot of shock cuts and chanting, “We bring him our flesh.” A hand reaches out of the water and blood and pulls Margaret under.

Donald and Grace get to the barn. They have two red shells, with mercury in them, and a bunch o’ black shells, which Donald says he “hopes” they don’t have to use to shoot children.

They go into the barn, and see Marcus on the floor. They slip around to somewhere else.

Margaret comes shooting out of the water.

Grace fills up the water tank outside the barn with a compound that has mercury in it. Donald goes to get Marcus. I have no idea how he’s going to accomplish this.

Grace goes back into the barn, carrying the shotgun.

Lucky for Donald, no one is looking at Marcus. So Donald grabs him and runs.
Then all the kids leave. For some reason. Grace calls to Margaret.

Donald takes Marcus to his truck and tries to stop the bleeding. All the kids surround his truck and start doing some damage.

In the barn, the evil kid attacks Grace. So she shoots him. He doesn’t like it.

Outside, the water tank is building pressure. Not quite sure how or why.

Inside the barn, Grace finds one of Margaret’s ribbons. And Doc. Who is still very dead.

Grace reloads the shotgun with black shells. The evil boy attacks. She shoots. He falls. She goes to pull the chain on the sprinklers. He attacks. She falls. She shoots the water tank. It sprays him. His face melts off. The sprinklers fire up.

Grace knocks the evil kid into the tub of water.

Outside, the kids who were attacking Donald’s truck vanish. Marcus wakes up. Donald says he’ll be all right.

Inside the barn, Grace pulls Margaret out of the tub of water, and gives her CPR. Margaret wakes up. She’s okay!

A few days later, Margaret, Grace, James, Donald and Marcus stand over June’s grave. They get ready to part ways. James gets into Grace’s car, and sees a locust, which lands on the window. He stares at it, all freaky-like. We’re supposed to get worried, but then he swats the locust and says, “Let’s go.”

The End? Yes, the end. Well, not really. Three more of these things to go. Let us hope one of them remembers HE WHO WALKS BEHIND THE ROWS. Which this flick did NOT.