“There’s Something Wrong with the Children” satisfies a range of horror appetites.

When you watch as many movies as someone who reviews for a living, you’re bound to see similar themes and ideas throughout multiple projects. Sometimes they do it better, sometimes they do it worse, sometimes it’s the same with a different outcome. None of this is necessarily a bad thing as, granted, it comes with the territory, but when you stumble upon something that is a perfect entry point for someone who’s on the fence about something similar it works greatly for that perspective. There’s Something Wrong with the Children is a perfect example of this theory as it is a perfect blend of the campiness of The Evil Dead (1981) while holding the much more horror-forward themes and instances of the 2013 sequel/remake, Evil Dead, and using children as a vehicle to create this horror can be a perfect steppingstone to something like Everyone Will Burn.

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L-R: Alisha Wainwright as Margaret and Zach Gilford as Ben in the supernatural horror/thriller, THERE’S SOMETHING WRONG WITH THE CHILDREN, a Paramount Home Entertainment and MGM+ release. Photo courtesy of Blumhouse Television.

There’s Something wrong with the Children is another release under the umbrella of Blumhouse with their collaboration with MGM+ (formerly EPIX) to bring forth a new horror film that will surely satisfy the novice viewers who aren’t ready to commit to a full Shudder experience but would like something that can be described as Shudder Lite. While there is some campiness and silliness in the movie, the performances and captivating storytelling truly will embrace the audience and give them something to satisfy their munchies or hunger depending on their horror capacity.

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Alisha Wainwright as Margaret in the supernatural horror/thriller, THERE’S SOMETHING WRONG WITH THE CHILDREN, a Paramount Home Entertainment and MGM+ release. Photo courtesy of Blumhouse Television.

The film focuses on a remote vacation that Margaret (Alisha Wainwright) and Ben (Zach Gilford) go on with their long-time friends, Ellie (Amanda Crew) and Thomas (Carlos Santos) and their children Lucy (Briella Guiza) and Spencer (David Mattle). They discover this abandoned cave in the middle of their forest walk and collectively (because this is a brilliant idea) decide to explore it. While eerie and certainly creepy, maybe they just want to have some fun and show their children not everything is terrifying and show their friends that they can still have fun despite being parents. It’s never actually explained why they decide to explore this clearly disturbing cave, but alas. There is clearly a supernatural force/entity that calls for souls to enter its void to consume the people it’s after. However, when Spencer tries to throw himself into the well and is caught, Margaret, Ben, Ellie and Thomas collectively agree that the children, nor themselves will go back to the cave, avoid the area all together, and enjoy the rest of their vacation.

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L-R: Briella Guiza as Lucy and Zach Gilford as Ben in the supernatural horror/thriller, THERE’S SOMETHING WRONG WITH THE CHILDREN, a Paramount Home Entertainment and MGM+ release. Photo courtesy of Sam Lothridge and Blumhouse Television.

Well, as the saying goes, “kids will be kids,” and Lucy and Spencer don’t listen to their parents nor their friends and go back in the night to the cave.  When everyone wakes and they realize Lucy and Spencer are missing, they begin to get worried wondering where they went and fear the worst. They eventually show up, seemingly safe, but Ben has his suspicions that they went back to the cave, and something has taken over their bodies/soul. Without delving too much into the twists and events of There’s Something Wrong with the Children, there is absolutely something sinister afoot and the fight of good versus evil is certainly underway.

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Alisha Wainwright as Margaret in the supernatural horror/thriller, THERE’S SOMETHING WRONG WITH THE CHILDREN, a Paramount Home Entertainment and MGM+ release. Photo courtesy of Blumhouse Television.

When it comes to films, or really any medium of entertainment, children are always harder to cast and to get the performances from due to a combination of them typically being managed by parents (who, more often than not, usually have their own ideologies and expectations of their child) and the children’s lack of being seasoned performers (not to say that a child can’t have several projects under them, just that, at their young age, the odds of being seasoned enough to perfect something are slimmer). However, Briella Guiza and David Mattle are terrific in There’s Something Wrong with the Children. It doesn’t feel like they’re the ages they are, and they manage to perfect that altered innocence that would come with having an evil entity play with your mind, body, and soul. We perceive children as good and wholesome, and then when they come into play in the horror genre, they can break that predetermined perception society has of them and it does something magical. It’s that sly smile, that crooked look. It can be something as simple as that or something as sinister as them committing a heinous act. Moreover though, the performances by Zach Gilford and Alisha Wainwright are also excellent, as it is Zach who is constantly on edge and unaware if he’s just being paranoid or if there is reasoning to his paranoia. The ability to disconnect from what we would consider as “normal” to this constant state of eeriness due to a cave is truly captivating and lets the audience disappear into the world that T.J. Cimfel and David White have created with their script.

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L-R: Briella Guiza as Lucy and David Mattle as Spencer in the supernatural horror/thriller, THERE’S SOMETHING WRONG WITH THE CHILDREN, a Paramount Home Entertainment and MGM+ release. Photo courtesy of Blumhouse Television.

Roxanne Benjamin, whose directing career has mostly been television, brings what she has learned from a more time-restrictive medium to a feature-length film with excellent results. Her ability to capture moments that will send shivers down your spine from the performances she helps cultivate creates this further unnerving world that the audience find themselves exploring. Her direction doesn’t change the game of directing, but it is done in a way that captures the perfect blend of horror for new fans and seasoned bloodied veterans that T.J. Cimfel and David White penned and the entire cast delivers, keeping the audience captivated and engaged in the scares and thrills.

Available on VOD and digital January 17th, 2023.
Available on MGM+ March 17th, 2023.

Final Score: 3.5 out of 5 .

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