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Film / Village of the Damned (1995)

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The 1995 adaptation of The Midwich Cuckoos by John Carpenter, starring Christopher Reeve, Mark Hamill, Kirstie Alley, and Peter Jason.

In the village of Midwich, everyone suddenly loses their consciousness for a day. Later, it becomes apparent that all the women have mysteriously become pregnant during that time, which leads them to give birth to children who have immense psychic powers. The children, howewer, are devoid of anything similar to humanity and empathy...

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This remake provides examples of:

  • Adaptational Heroism: David is born without a counterpart, and thus is left vulnerable to emoting with other humans and gaining empathy. He eventually pulls a Heel–Face Turn to save his mother, avoiding the same fate with the others like in the original. Female child Mara takes the role of the ringleader instead.
  • Asshole Victim: The janitor is an alcoholic Child Hater who drinks on duty and is heavily implied to abuse the schoolchildren. When he crosses the children, he winds up Impaled with Extreme Prejudice.
  • Badass Preacher: Reverend George is A) played by Mark Hamill, B) Genre Savvy, and C) nearly kills Mara.
  • Bullying a Dragon: When the janitor, for whatever reason, decides to harass the children by swinging around a broom. He hits one of them. It does not end well.
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  • Creepy Child: All the mutant children, and specially their leader Mara. One of the boys (the son of the local schoolteacher Jill) loses his female counterpart in childbirth, and thus learns empathy... and he's still kinda creepy.
  • Death by Genre Savviness: Reverend George.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: If the children take any pain inflicted upon them, accidentally or otherwise, they force the adults to experience it taken Up to Eleven.
    • The little girl who is accidentally given too hot soup, and coincidentally is the leader of the group? She makes her mother Barbara stick her arm into a boiling pan of water. And then makes her commit suicide via jumping off a cliff.
    • Another little girl has an acidic substance accidentally dropped in her eyes during an exam. The ringleader of the children then makes the optician use said drops on her own eyes over and over until she's left permanently blind.
  • Dwindling Party: A majority of the adults introduced are killed by the children, and by the end the audience is left with 1 adult and 1 child (David and his mom Jill)
  • The End... Or Is It?: In the final shot, it is implied there was a sequel in the works involving David.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: David is the only one of the children to develop empathy. He is consequently the only one who survives.
  • Friendly Sniper: Reverend George is one of the kindest characters in the film, and nearly Snipes Mara.
  • Genre Savvy: Reverend George is pretty quick to realize that the children are dangerous despite not being involved in Dr. Verner's study, and knows that they are in fact behind the recent string of deaths. Eventually, he takes matters into his own hands and tries to kill them.
  • Good Girls Avoid Abortion: Zig-zagged. While Dr. Verner says that it is everyone's individual choice whether to keep or terminate the babies, both are valid options, and the government will pay all medical expenses either way, every woman carries to term. However, the dream sequence all the pregnant women share immediately after this, combined with Jill's friend's initial desire to abort (as it can't possibly be her husband's), makes it pretty clear that they didn't get to make the decision.
  • Good Shepherd: Reverend George is softspoken, kind, and cares about the safety of the town. He is also one of the first to realize the threat the children pose.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: The children forcing Reverend George to shoot himself with his sniper rifle.
  • Hellish Copter: The children mind-whammy a police helicopter pilot into making a rather abrupt and explosive crash-landing.
  • Heroes' Frontier Step: David spends the last half of the film lingering between the cuckoos and his mother. Eventually when the kids mind-attack Jill during the climax he snaps and pushes down Mara so she can escape.
  • Kids Are Cruel: Specially if they're mutated children with no empathy
  • Kill 'Em All: The film has everyone dying except for the teacher girl and her son aka one of the alien children, the only one to have developed human emotions.
  • Lighter and Softer: In the original story and the 1960 film based on it, all the children were villains uncaring of humanity. The girl who was destined to be David's mate is stillborn, and as a result, David has some emotional vulnerability. To balance it out however, the other children are even more vindictive and graphic in action than in the original.
  • Mama Bear: The schoolteacher Jill refuses to believe that her son David is evil, and risks the children's wrath to rescue him. This seems to play a lot into David's Heel–Face Turn.
  • Man on Fire: The minister's Holier Than Thou wife, Sarah, leads a group that tries to attack the kids while holding a torch. It's easy to guess what happens.
  • Nature vs. Nurture: Zigzagged. David lacks a counterpart, leaving him vulnerable to experiencing emotions and bonds with humans, in particular his mother. While David is still far from normal, he exists as proof cuckoos can partway achieve human sentience under certain circumstances.
  • Nothing Can Stop Us Now!:
    Mara: You can't stop us, you know. Don't try.
  • Reality Ensues: Everyone falls asleep at once in the middle of whatever they were doing? There are consequences, many gruesome and fatal.
  • Redemption Earns Life: The one child who refuses to use his powers for harm survives.
  • Setting Update: The story now takes place in California instead of English countryside.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Unlike the 1960 movie, David survives.
  • Soft-Spoken Sadist: Mara speaks softly and coldly, and is the ringleader of a bunch of horrible kids.
  • Tin Man: David, in spite of the cuckoo's nature, slowly grasps onto emotions to some degree. Mara is a darker example. For someone who refutes the idea of having emotions, she has a thinly veiled contemptuous, angry disposition for most of the movie.
  • Unfriendly Fire: When the State Police and National Guard attempt to confront and kill the children, the children hypnotize them into killing eachother instead.
  • Virtue Is Weakness: Mara states David to be inferior due to his more evident emotions and conscience.
  • White Sheep: David becomes this when he begins to develop human feelings and a conscience.
  • Would Hurt a Child: All the alien children are killed except for David.


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