For over twenty-five years now, the quiet town of Creekside has told the story of a crazed murderer known as the 'child eater', who consumed the eyes of children in a bid to prevent himself from going blind (he believed gouging to be the solution...). Everyone knows the tale, and he's frequently mentioned in police circles, the old case which brought him to light giving everyone the heebie-jeebies.
Meanwhile, desperate for money, young adult Helen (Cait Bliss) is drifting from job to job. We first spot her working in a restaurant, bored with life. She's just been offered the role of babysitting some kid that night. It's a little extra cash, why not?
Her dad, the local town sheriff, drives her to Lucas' (Colin Critchley) home in the evening. He seems an easy child to watch, and is more mature than Helen initially thinks. An avid birdwatcher and horror enthusiast (good lad!), they make conversation and things aren't awkward at all.
After taking him up to bed, Helen's 'friend' Tom (Dave Klasko) surprises her with a visit that she's visibly uncomfortable with. Revealing that she's pregnant, Lucas' shouting is heard from upstairs, and she quickly runs to check on him. He's gone.
She thinks she knows where he went. They grab a torch each and hurry into the woods behind the house to find him.
Back at the police station, Helen's dad is informed of a strange phone call received just a few minutes ago – 'he is awake', the voice whispered. Who?
You know exactly who.
I was thoroughly impressed with Erlingur Thoroddsen's CHILD EATER very soon into proceedings. The opening credits offered some very well-composed, pretty shots. I knew I was in for something good! It's a film that's been directed with confidence, and with the clear goal of scaring its viewer, and that it does. Quiet scenes peppered throughout the tale easily creep you out, and chases, of which there are many, are admirably tense, in part due to the genuinely frightening antagonist.
Predictably, the film submits to many common cliches; the police are useless, stupid decisions are made, and so on but it's never not engaging. It's a very familiar premise, but as a whole, there is enough creativity on display here to keep you watching and enjoying. The resulting sighs of such cliches go away within seconds.
Child actor Colin Critchley was great here. Thank god, because if he'd been played badly I would've hated the kid! As for the lead, I warmed up to her after a while. She was a bit dry at first but you start to accept it after a while, and she's by no means unlikeable. I can't really pick out an actor worth criticising; well-acted through and through.
It's also nowhere near as gory as the worrying title would suggest. For a start, there's not a cannibal in sight; as mentioned, only the eyes are eaten (so much better, I know!). There's plenty of blood, but a lot is only seen from a distance. There's only so much gouging you can witness before it bores, so I'm glad about that.
CHILD EATER comes to DVD via MVD Visual, playable everywhere on a region-free disc.
An animated menu with music presents four passages: you can play the feature, choose from 12 points via chapter selection, and switch from 2.0 to 5.1 audio in a setup menu.
Extra wise, we have 16 minutes of deleted scenes and a commentary featuring director Thoroddsen and stars Bliss and Jason Martin. The back of the DVD speaks of a trailer too, but I couldn't find one?
CHILD EATER is a very simple horror film. It's got a decent lead, plenty of jump scares, and a disturbing back story. It's one of the better films of its kind.
Review by Elliott Moran
|Released by MVD Visual|