“When you try to fix something, it only gets worse”: the essence of the film Children of the Corn (2020): plot summary, meaning of the Stephen King film, explanation of the ending, similar thrillers.
Year of production: 2020
Director: Kurt Wimmer
Cast: Elena Campouris, Callan Moonway, Kate Moyer, Jayden McGinley
tagline: “All parents’ nightmare”
Originally billed as a remake of the 1984 film, Children of the Corn doesn’t seem to have any depth at all. Despite the fact that the script was written by the author of the plots of very strong and almost cult “Equilibrium”, “Recruit”, “Law Abiding Citizen”, this time the quality of his creation suffers greatly. Maybe it’s in an unusual horror genre for him?
What is the movie about
Let’s analyze the content of the film “Children of the Corn” in order to explain the meaning of some episodes.
At the beginning of the story, we meet a girl named Eden, who will become the main villain of the picture. She sits next to the premises of the orphanage of the town of Reelstone. From the thickets of corn, which is nearby, another of its inhabitants, teenager Boyd, comes out. After telling Eden that nothing ever dies in corn, he goes to kill all the adults inside the building. To catch Boyd, the town authorities decide to use a tranquilizer gas. However, because of him, the children in the building die – including Boyd. Eden is adopted by a priest.
Kate Moyer played the role of Eden. Frame from the film.
After a while, we watch seventeen-year-old Boleyn (Bo) and her younger brother Cecil. The girl is about to leave Rilstone – she is accepted into Boston College. This news spoils Cecil’s mood – he will stay here for a long time, because of bad grades he will not be taken anywhere. Brother and sister come out to a clearing in the middle of a cornfield where children are having fun. They force one of the boys to walk on the board at a great height and jump down, thus imitating a pirate execution.
Boleyn’s classmate named Calder appears. His car is in the field. As it turns out from further conversation, Calder grows hemp nearby.
Bo catches up with his brother in the town. Both become witnesses of their mother getting into the car with another man – it becomes clear that this is not the first time this has happened. Cecil believes that this is only part of the picture of the moral degeneration of their godforsaken place.
Adults gather to discuss an urgent problem. The fact is that this is not the first year that the corn crop, which feeds the entire town, is very small. The reason for this is the use of special chemicals and GMOs, actively advertised and sold by cunning representatives of agricultural corporations. Beau’s father Robert makes a proposal to destroy all the corn in the fields in order to receive a government subsidy. Almost everyone agrees, but the children are protesting. So, Bo says you can still fix it by trying to restore the original composition of the soil. However, the opinion of children of adults does not care.
Eden, upset by her decision, is crying in the field. She is comforted by a creature made up of cornstalks.
Children led by Eden communicate with each other, obviously developing some kind of plan. They are joined by Cecil, who previously wandered around the evening town and watched the abuse of adults in their homes.
The role of Boleyn was played by Elena Campouris. Frame from the film.
Bo, meanwhile, comes up with his plan to save the corn and tells Caulder and her friends Tanika and Carla about it. The girl is going to contact reporter Sheila Boyce to come to Rilstone and tell the world about the antics of corporations, because of which the crop is dying. Friends support Bo.
The heroine also tells about her plan to the younger children, who are led by Eden. Those at this time, being in a dug hole, paint the roots of corn with the blood of a pig. Eden approves of Bo’s plan to meet the reporter and bring the adults to the town hall for an impromptu trial.
When Bo and his brother and Calder arrive at the town hall with their parents, they see Eden and Calder’s brother Cal there. They say that everything has already been done: the trial took place, but the reporter never arrived. Bo enters the building and sees Calder and Cal’s father hanging from a rope, but still alive. Teenagers try to save the unfortunate man, but Eden completes the execution with the help of a horse.
The atrocities of the children did not end there. It turns out that they killed several more adults, and the rest were put behind bars in a local detention center. Bo’s parents are among the prisoners. The children also damaged the cell tower, thereby cutting off communication with the outside world.
Caulder tries to stop the madness by attacking the children, but they beat him to death. Eden poisons adults with gas – the one that was used in the orphanage at the beginning of the film. They (including Bo’s mother), who have lost consciousness, are thrown into a hole near a cornfield. On Eden’s orders, the children use bulldozers to bury the adults alive.
Bo goes to help his father, who is still alive, while Tanika and Carly run to a nearby village for help.
Frame from the film.
Eden says that he is going to sacrifice adults to a certain deity – the One Who Walks Between the Rows (or, Walking Around). According to her, the creature is sick and needs food. Eden also says that Walker loves her, unlike all adults. Bo takes it all for the fantasies of a girl going crazy.
The children kill the pastor, and the remaining adults in the town (including Beau’s father) are driven into the cornfield as victims for the Bypasser. Eden says that he is going to create a world in which there will be no place for adults, and shows another prisoner. This is the same reporter Sheila Boyce, whom the children nevertheless “met”. The wounded girl is taken to the barn. There, Bo sees the corpses of her friends – Tanika and Karla. Their plan to bring aid obviously failed.
Eden calls on Walker to accept Sheila as a sacrifice. The creature does not appear at first, which reinforces Bo that it is a figment of the girl’s imagination. The heroine takes Eden hostage with a machete. However, the creature still comes, accepting the sacrifice.
The children attack Bo and douse her with gasoline, intending to burn her alive. But the girl warns them about grain dust, which is everywhere and thanks to which everything around can blaze. Bo manages to escape into the cornfield by spraying gasoline on the stalks. There she finds her father’s dead body. The girl is attacked by the Walker, who has just finished with Sheila, but Bo manages to use an old machete thrown the day before in the field by Caulder.
The heroine finds a car that the children recently had fun with. However, it is damaged and it is not possible to go far. In addition, Eden, who was hiding there, is in the back seat. The girl is about to kill Bo with a slaughter gun. She asks only to fulfill her last wish – to let her light a cigarette. To do this, Bo takes a cigarette lighter. But this is a trick for Eden. The girl sets fire to the cigarette lighter fuel that dripped from the car. The fire sweeps along the gasoline trail left by Bo and covers the entire field, setting fire to the Bypasser as well. Eden tries to save the creature, but she herself dies. It is as if children who have awakened from hypnosis are watching this.
At the end, we are shown the events of the next day. Bo wanders through a burnt cornfield. She discovers the flower that Eden wore on her finger. The find immediately disappears. Bo suddenly sees the living disfigured corpse of Eden. He says, “Nothing ever dies in corn.” Outgoing breaks out of Eden and absorbs Bo.
Children of the Corn Ending explanation
The meaning of the ending of the film “Children of the Corn” is in the plot twist that has already become a classic for horror films. It can be called like this: “You thought that evil was defeated. But no!”. Detailed analysis is hardly required here. True, the question remains: how did the Bypasser survive? Let “nothing dies in corn”, but now there is no corn either.
Probably, even the director and screenwriter does not have a real clue. The correct answer would be closer to “It’s just an ancient unkillable evil. In a word, mysticism. Unfortunately, both the explanation of the ending and the explanation of the meaning of the entire film “Children of the Corn” will rest on such a banal underdevelopment of the script.
Children of the Corn 1984 vs 2023: What’s the Difference?
Despite the fact that the film by Kurt Wimmer was originally conceived as a remake of the 1984 film, in the end it did not become one. And the director himself spoke about this before the release of the new “Children of the Corn”. In fact, it turned out, rather, a kind of prequel to the old story.
“Children of the Corn” in 1984 is considered the first film adaptation of the short story by Stephen King (although in reality it was a short film “The Apostles of the Raven” in 1983). In this film, the authors quite freely treated the original, however, significantly expanding the history and description of the world, where children, under the influence of the cult of the Circumventing, dealt with adults and distributed power among themselves.
Frame from the film.
The main characters, as in the story, were the spouses Bert and Vicki, who ended up in this strange place and faced the terrible deeds of children. In the original, these characters almost hated each other, being on the verge of a divorce. And the clash with bloodthirsty children was a sad end to their relationship and life in general. In the film, on the contrary, they are spouses who sincerely love and care for each other, who survived despite the sudden struggle with a dangerous cult.
By the way, the film already had a remake – “Children of the Corn” in 2009. And he offered a different interpretation of the King story, which was in many ways closer to the original than the 1984 painting.
In the 2020 film, there were no key characters Bert and Vicki, no recognizable children from the original, no key idea. The latter (as the meaning of the 1984 painting and Stephen King’s story) is formulated by many as follows: “You can mold anything from children’s souls, leaving their development to chance can be extremely dangerous. A pinch of evil and they become fanatical followers of a terrifying death cult.”
The meaning of the film Children of the Corn
Alas, there is no explicit or hidden meaning in the picture of 2020. In it, we see a fairly charismatic heroine and villain, but their characters and motivations are not disclosed properly. In terms of the logic of the narrative, not only the ending and ending suffer, but almost the entire story.
The main thing that is completely incomprehensible: how did children manage to cope with adults so easily? Indeed, basically, almost all of their manipulations remain behind the scenes (again, “mysticism” is not otherwise). And the actions shown look ridiculous and unreliable. Small references (such as Eden introducing herself as the Red Queen from Alice in Wonderland) do not change anything, as well as the characterization of some characters.
Why, for example, were Bo’s mother shown to us as a traitor, if it played absolutely no role? The main character actively portrays emotions, but does little to do anything, mostly just going with the flow (with the exception of the ending of the last “battle”). And almost the main idea and essence of the film is the phrase repeated several times: “When you try to fix something, everything only gets worse.”
Frame from the film.
- Tall Green Grass (Canada, USA, 2019): an inventive cornfield horror film;
- Lord of the Flies (Great Britain, 1963): adaptation of the famous novel by William Golding about children who survived a plane crash and are left to their own devices;
- Wicker Man (USA, Germany, Mexico, 2006): An ex-cop faces a dangerous secret cult.