Day 13: Village of the Damned
Premise: A mysterious event leads to every man, woman and child in a small English village suddenly falling unconscious for several hours. Not long after they wake up, it is discovered that every single woman of child-rearing age is mysterious pregnant.
Said women give birth to a small legion of eerie, white haired children with emotionless expressions, mysterious psychic powers and tremendously British accents. Naturally everyone attempts to destroy them on sight.
Like most people I expect, my only real knowledge of this movie going into was the whole ‘creepy, white-haired psychic children’ thing that has been so often parodied and referenced in pop culture over the years. Because, let’s face it, that’s really the only big thing people actually remember about this movie. Creepy psychic children being creepy.
Which is honestly kind of a shame, because the movie itself is actually really really good.
Seriously, I was genuinely surprised at just how quickly and effectively the movie grabbed my interest. There’s no boring build-up or uninteresting background setting, we just get a few minutes of one of the characters talking on the phone and, next thing we know, an entire village has fallen mysteriously unconscious onscreen.
It’s honestly a really strong beginning. We get an interesting mystery right off the bat and the characters outside the village approach it an analytical and sensible way to try and find out more. They cordon off the village with the military, send people in in various experimental ways to see if they can get past the mysterious effect or, at the very least learn about it. There’s even a bit of tension as one particular test, involving an airplane, goes terribly wrong.
And even once the village awakens, it still doesn’t lose that strong interesting premise. The actual story itself moves pretty fast, each scene revealing more and more of the mystery and showing various reactions to it. It’s tremendously well paced, with no moment feeling like it’s being lingered on too long and, just when you get comfortable, a new twist is added to the fray.
As for the creepy kids themselves, yeah I can definitely see why they’ve made such an impact on popular culture. Even as infants, there’s something just not quite right with them, with the way they seem to mysteriously communicate with each other ala hive mind, and that only grows more unsettling when they grow older and starting using their powers more and more. The eerie glow in their eyes and the way the music stings when they’re using their psychic powers is simple, but really effective in terms of showing something terrifying and unnatural.
So yeah, I honestly enjoyed this movie a lot more than I expected to. If you’re only aware of this movie for the whole ‘creepy kids being creepy trope’, I’d actually kinda recommend you give it a look. It doesn’t quite reinvent the wheel in terms of 50’s horror movies involving sci-fi elements, but it’s a story told well and it’s a very fun watch.
Was is Scary?: *stares menacingly with glowing eyes*
Was it Silly?: Not really/
Overall Grade: A