Welcome to another installment of 31 Days of Halloween! This is our chance to set the mood for the spookiest and scariest month of the year as we focus our attention on horror and Halloween fun. For the month of October we’ll be sharing various pieces of underappreciated scary books, comics, movies, and television to help keep you terrified and entertained all the way up to Halloween.
I’ve never seen the 1960 original black and white horror film that this 1990s remake is based upon but I have a feeling it’s probably better than this. As a stand alone film, Village of the Damned is pretty mediocre. I wouldn’t say this is an awful film but it certainly could have been a whole lot better.
The cast that’s assembled does the best they possibly can, but unfortunately the script they all have to work with comes up short in multiple ways. Character development is minimal, the plot is average at best, and there are very few scares. The best thing this remake has to offer is a charismatic cast.
Christopher Reeve is a really good fit for the lead role here as the town of Midwich’s main doctor. He serves as a strong, handsome, capable leading man. We’re able to connect with his character because of his solid performance and that gives us at least some investment in Village of the Damned. He has one scene in particular that I really loved where he goes on an emotion fueled rant in front of these devious children.
That is actually one of the film’s strongest scenes and is one of the few moments that actually rings true. So much of the material here is very surface level and forgettable, but Reeve was able to make that moment memorable.
Kirstie Alley is another one of the main players here as a doctor working to uncover the truth of the phenomenon behind the events in this small town. Alley does a decent job even though there isn’t a whole hell of a lot for her to do. Linda Kozlowski also does a nice job with what she’s given. Her and Reeve have nice onscreen chemistry that I wish we could have seen more of.
Mark Hamill has a small role as the town’s priest but he’s really not very good here and doesn’t even have enough screen time to make any sort of impact. The child actors are all pretty good. For kids that were as young as they were, they did a good job being so stoic and devoid of any empathy or real emotion.
Now let’s get to what ultimately holds Village of the Damned back from being one of Carpenter’s better films: the script. First of all, this script doesn’t make character development a priority and the film suffers because of it. I wanted to get to know these people some more. I especially wanted some more of Reeve and Kozlowski together. They have such natural chemistry and I think the film would have been better off for featuring more of their relationship.
I also felt that Alley’s character deserved more detail and development. Her character is pretty interesting and I would have enjoyed getting to know her more. If those three characters would have received some more detailed treatment I think it would have really improved this film’s impact. Why not strongly utilize three talented actors who have a lot to offer? Besides the deficiency in character development, there’s also the reality that this story, as it’s told here, just isn’t that scary or interesting.
This premise has so much potential and there’s a lot one could do with this story but all John Carpenter really does here is show us stoic white haired kiddos that have laser eyes and can do mind control. There’s so much room for creativity here and that’s all they offer up? Also the kills are very repetitive and dull. There isn’t any suspense or intrigue, it’s just the freaky kids shining their eyes at someone and making them kill themselves. It gets really old and dull.
There could have been some deeper material about where these things came from or maybe some more interesting powers could have been featured. Village of the Damned doesn’t seem to be interested in going the extra mile and digging deeper to provide us with a robust interesting sci-fi horror flick.
Carpenter seems to only be interested in doing a very surface level flick that proves to be pretty unimpactful. It’s a shame because the cast is really good and like I said, there was ample opportunity to expand this story and create a memorable experience.
1995’s Village of the Damned had potential but a weak uninteresting script holds it back. The cast does their best and the main players are very good but they aren’t able to save this from being what it is: a mediocre bland horror endeavor.
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