Director – Narciso Ibanez Serrador
Cast – Lewis Fiander, Prunella Ransome, Antonio Iranzo
Release Year – 1976
Reviewed by John of the Dead
Killer children films are no stranger to the horror scene, although I am somewhat surprised that we have not seen a big number of these films. This is most likely a good thing, seeing as how the slasher market has been oversaturated for decades, which I believe has lowered the quality of that awesome horror sub-genre. Nonetheless, the 1976 proved to be a small era of killer children horror with The Omen and this lesser known Spanish film Who Can Kill A Child debuting that year. This film has gained quite a cult following in recent years, and although it contains some really horrific scenes and elements I did not enjoy this film as much as I wanted to. Read on.
This flick follows an English couple vacationing on the island of Almanzora, which is off the Spanish coast. Upon their arrival they notice the island to be abandoned, but decide to make use of their stay and take residence in a hotel. Soon enough they find that they are not alone on the island after all, and that the island seems to be inhabited by a large amount of children and a dwindling number of adults. The horror begins when they notice the children enacting brutal acts of violence against the remaining adults, who cannot defend themselves because they will not kill a child. As the already small adult population dwindles, the couple is faced with decisions they never envisioned they would have to make. In the words of Jigsaw himself…”Live or die…the choice is yours.”. Sorry, I had to. Hehe.
I can definitely see why this film has become the underground hit that it is. The acts these children do to the adults are pretty gruesome for it’s time, and there is definitely a strong eerie feeling throughout the film. I really enjoyed this film’s score as well, it reminded me a lot of the epic score from Spielberg’s Jaws and definitely helped with the film’s creep factor. I also enjoyed this film’s storyline and how the children basically had an entire island to themselves after killing off so many adults, fully knowing that the adults simply would not fight back against a child. This is exemplified when we see one of the children get killed by an adult and the rest of the children look utterly shocked for the first time during the entire film. Definitely one of the more satisfying scenes in this flick. Given the time that this was filmed I was very surprised to see that it really showed violence against children and children being killed. This is often a very taboo subject that many films do not have the guts to touch, so I really applaud writer/director Narciso Ibanez Serrador for taking on this and hitting it full swing. I’m not saying I enjoy seeing children killed(unless they are annoying, heh) but it sure is nice to see a film with some balls.
I did have one big problem with this film…it’s pacing. This is one of those flicks that is nearly two hours in length but only has the content to support a 90 minute film at best. I really despise it when films do this. I understand that there may be a point to be made in the film so there must be a great amount of dialogue, but that should not ruin the pacing of the film. A great job in direction will take care of that by pacing the dialogue properly and keeping the viewer’s interest with whatever elements and scenes necessary to do so. I’m not bashing this film, I really wanted to enjoy this piece and am only stating why I did not fully do so.
If you manage to stay tuned long enough to make this film’s climax you will not be disappointed. It is a real shame that you have to wait until this film’s conclusion to see some great action but I guess tha tis the snore-approach Mr. Serrador wanted for this film.
Overall, this is a moderate-to-positive film that I suggest you view for yourself if you’d like to see a killer kid flick with some guts. Be wary of it’s pacing issues and make sure that you get a full night’s rest before viewing, if you can find it.