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Film / The Children

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Be very afraid.
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The Children (2008) is a British horror film. Whilst on holiday, parents Jonah, Elaine, Chloe and Robbie notice that their young children are beginning to act odd after they become ill with an unknown virus. The children then begin to exhibit violent behavior that quickly escalates to murder.


The Children provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Ax-Crazy: Infected children exhibit this behavior, although it's mixed with cold calculation.
  • Bolivian Army Ending: The ending shows a group of infected children surrounding the van, with a lingering shot of Casey, who may or may not be infected.
  • Cliffhanger: Elaine and the possibly now-infected Casey, driving away from the house together.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Why is the ambulance going to take so long to reach them after Elaine's leg is fractured? Because the Hate Plague is everywhere and kids are murdering adults all over the place.
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  • Creepy Child / Enfant Terrible: All of the children, but Leah especially.
  • Creepy Doll: Leah's baby doll, made even worse when she stuffs it inside Robbie's stomach.
  • Daddy's Girl: Miranda, although it doesn't work out too well for Jonah, her dad.
  • Death of a Child: Of the four younger children only one is still alive at the end.
  • Downer Ending
  • The End of the World as We Know It: More than likely. It appears that the illness is widespread and probably incurable.
  • Extremely Protective Child: Casey ultimately reveals how much she cares for Elaine when she attempts to fight off the kids attacking them both.
  • Eye Scream: Chloe's death involves a coloured pencil in the eye.
  • Final Girl: Casey and Elaine.
  • Foreshadowing: Leah giving herself eye shadow with a coloured pencil.
  • Hate Plague: One that infects children exclusively, turning them into pint-sized homicidal maniacs.
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  • Horror Doesn't Settle for Simple Tuesday: New Year's Eve.
  • Idiot Ball: Chloe and Robbie. Their actions end up costing them dearly.
  • A House Divided: The entire family turns against Casey and then against Elaine, with the implication that they blame Elaine for being a teen mother and not raising her properly.
  • Jerkass: Jonah, who runs off with his youngest daughter while abandoning his wife and step daughter. YMMV however. Considering the events of the movie solely from his point of view, this can also be a case of Jerk Ass Has A Point.
  • Kill 'Em All: With the exception of Elaine and Casey, everyone is dead by the final scene.
  • Oh, Crap!: Elaine realizes in the final scene of the film what has happened: once the children started to get sick, they became violent and killed every adult around. Elaine's hesitation before letting Casey back into her car speaks volumes.
  • Pervert Dad: Robbie is extremely inappropriate around his niece-by-marriage, Casey, who is an underage teenager, encouraging her to show him her tattoo and smoking with her in the shed.
  • Poor Communication Kills: None of the characters explain their motivations or reasoning to anyone else. They simply do something and expect everyone else to go along, then bring up looks of shock and horror when someone foils their agenda — both good and bad characters. Elaine finally figures it out after she is cornered on a stairwell, about to be dug into by two of the kids.
  • The Scapegoat: Casey is blamed by every single person - even her mother Elaine isn't immune - for the murders rather than blaming the (little) kids.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Jonah. He isn't successful.
  • Twisted Christmas: The film opens on Christmas Eve, and ends on New Year's Eve. Everybody except Elaine and Casey dies, with the implication that Casey is infected.
  • Wicked Stepfather: Jonah blames Casey and abandons her; he even more or less forgives Miranda for torturing Elaine.
  • The Worf Effect: Robbie, the seemingly strongest dad, gets killed first by being pushed down a hill into a spike by his infected kids.
  • Worf Had the Flu: Elaine would have been much more equipped to fight off the kids attacking Casey if she hadn't brutally compound-fractured her leg.
  • Wouldn't Hurt a Child: None of the adults. Casey, however...

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