Something’s Wrong with Esther. That’s the tagline for the film Orphan opening wide this Friday. Either it’s just me, or there’s been something wrong with a lot of kids at the cinema as of lately.
It used to be we’d occasionally get an outstanding f*cked up youngster:
But now it seems there’s a flock of mediocre mini sociopaths running amoke on the silver screen. Have the parents in these films never heard of a child psychologist? Or a good punch to the temple? Both are effective for different reasons, but I can guarantee you that either method will get your demented offspring, or unfortunate adoption, to quit lighting your pets, houses, and better behaved children on fire. That is unless head shrinking and corporal punishment really pisses them off. Then you might just have to put them down for good.
Let’s take a look at some of the menacing kiddies who have recently been causing their on-screen mothers to wish they’d considered an "alternative option" to parenthood.
Aidan Keller in The Ring
Aiden’s not a sociopath, he just sees pale dead girls with really long hair. But you don’t have to look into those souless eyes for very long to know that this kid has some issues. Can’t you draw your mother anything else but a stupid black ring?! Try a rainbow for once!
Young Sean in Birth
Cameron Bright’s character is supposedly the reincarnation of his dead father and Nicole Kidman’s character’s husband. That’s got to be a confusing situation to find yourself in. You want to bang your wife but your only ten years old and your balls haven’t dropped yet. No wonder he’s grabbing Kidman’s face so intensely. He’s a sexually frustrated man trapped inside a pubeless body.
Adam Duncan in Godsend
Here we go with Cameron Bright again. This kid was born to play the creepy son. In this film he’s the perfect example as to why you don’t clone your dead child. Sometimes dead is better, as we learned in Pet Semetary. If you really want to keep your deceased child around a few years longer find a really large Tupperware casket and squirt some lemon juice on him or her. My mom used to do it with my apple slices when I was younger and it worked splendidly.
Emily Callaway in Hide and Seek
Turn Dakota Fanning into a brunette and suddenly she’s a psycho. Perhaps blonds do really have more fun… Or hair color is toxic. We won’t go into the completely ridiculous turn of events in this film, but if you love Fight Club and you hate idea thievery then you probably won’t like De Niro’s predicament.
Damien Thorn in The Omen (2006)
One of the truly original creepy kids reimagined with glossier film stock and a Razer scooter. He also apparently enjoys staring contests because he won’t stop looking at you. I get that it’s supposed to be unsettling, but come on Damien, you’re making me self-concious. I mean, do I have sauce from my Panda Express orange chicken on my face? If I give you my fortune cookie will you stop glaring at me from across the kitchy dining area? It’s all for you, Damien!
Joshua Cairn in Joshua
I think there’s a rule that at least once in these films the creepy kid has to appear in a darling suit or sportcoat. It just makes them look so grown up and normal when they’re anything but. In Joshua we’ve got another case of a jealous sibling who takes things too far. Vera Farmiga plays Joshua’s mother, a very similar role to her character in Orphan. How many crazy kids can one woman rear in her career’s lifetime?
Tomas in The Orphanage
This is a truly entertaining and powerful horror film. You may think it’s about some reject kid with a sack on his head and a whistle around his neck, but you’d be wrong. If you haven’t seen it rent it right away. It carries the promise of a creepy kid in wide angle shots and some heartwarming scenes to boot. The lead protagonist ain’t so bad either:
Cole Sear in The Sixth Sense
The original kid who sees dead people. Cole and Aidan from The Ring should get together and discuss their issues. No one can deny though that Haley Joel gave us a fantastic Oscar-nominated performance. He spent the whole movie with Bruce Willis and that little patch of fake hair they put on the front of his head, and Haley didn’t laugh once.
– IAN SOBEL
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