I’ve got to admit, this one feels different.
It starts off with a documentary feel, grainy black-and-white footage that catches us up on the mythology this film builds on – not necessarily the mythology of the series, just the history specific to this film.
You can tell by the cinematography the John Gulager is taking this seriously – it’s shot like a drama, without trendy flair or slick editing. We have an outcast in the middle of nowhere, the titular runaway who’s having visions, some washed out flashbacks, a few of which are walking daydreams. We get some acceptable gore in these shots, and it’s enough to make me wonder what’s going on, keeping us off-balance and freaked out, though not enough to really build up a sense of dread. This time around our small town doesn’t feel like a back lot set – it feels dusty and lived in. It’s underused though. The town is just backdrop for the story instead of giving off that sort of alien, isolated creepy factor that drives so many of these films. Our heroine brings a Sarah Connor kind of vibe, wandering as she does with her teenage son. As she starts to make good at the local garage, the Corn children begin thier murderous work.
I dig this one, and it’s safe to say that it’s one of the good entries with a reasonably original premise and solid film making. I do however miss the religious horror aspect – it’s mentioned in passing, but doesn’t really affect the film (until perhaps the last thrity seconds) and its loss is keenly felt. That said, the ending does set us up for a very religious horror kind of sequel. I wouldn’t however, count on Dimension coming through with that – there’s no continuity or guiding vision with these films, though if John Gulager were so inclined to pick up the reins and guide things in a direction, this is certainly a good place to kick that off.
All in all, it’s cleverly made, with one twist that is fairly obvious, but a second one thrown in towards the end that I completely didn’t see coming. It comes off as more a spin-off then a proper sequel, and that may be the best thing for this franchise.