I feel a little torn about “Children of the Corn II.” On the one hand, it’s definitely not a “good” movie: It’s rather poorly edited, the screenplay is malarkey, and the special effects are almost laughably bad. But that being said, the filmmakers seem to have been inspired more by “The Omen” than this movie’s own predecessor, and it adds a nice touch. There’s an unmistakably foreboding tone not unlike the first two “Omen” movies, as well as the same inventive, increasingly violent ways to dispatch its supporting characters. The death scenes here are sometimes a little silly (a certain long-winded nod to “The Wizard of Oz” comes to mind), but they’re undeniably memorable: The possessed children are malevolent and downright callous in their cruelty, while the juxtaposition between their outward innocence and the profoundly gory ways in which they go about killing the adults can be jarring. However, despite some cool moments here and there, it doesn’t ever really seem to come alive: The narrative feels like it’s going both too fast for the audience to really understand what’s going on, while it’s also going too slow for us to care all that much. The fact that there aren’t any likable characters around doesn’t really help (although Ryan Bollan delivers a striking, fiery performance as Micah that’s strong enough to suggest a better movie), so in the end, it’s a mildly entertaining diversion that’s a tad better than the lackluster original, but still fairly mediocre on its own.
Rating: ★★ (out of 5)