Directed by John Carpenter
Starring Christopher Reeve, Kirstie Alley, Mark Hamill.
UK DVD & Blu-Ray release 27th April 2015 from Fabulous Films.
A reworking of the 1960 film of the same name, and taking its material from The Midwich Cuckoos novel, this film finds us in a small out of the way town of Midwich, California. A town with stereotypical white picket fences, tucked away at the coast, far away from the lunging beast of the local cities.
One day a strange force permeates through the town leaving everyone unconscious for long stretches of time. Everyone awakes at roughly the same time, unaware what has happened, but ten women have found themselves with child. Nine months later, nine are born perfectly (too perfectly?) but one is still born. The nine children grown up quickly, becoming highly intelligent before their time and soon turn their sights on the very beating heart of the community. Its up to a doctor (Reeve) a widowed teacher, and the local doctor (Alley) to get to the heart of the mystery.
Being a huge fan of Carpenter since his first foray into horror with the classic Halloween, I’ve slowly thawed to the masters output of the last 20 years, thinking his best period was between Halloween and 1988’s They Live. Watching this film for the first time, had me thinking about Carpenters work and the change in style and his direction through each film.
Looking at Damned with a critical eye I would put out the theory that Carpenter and his style was over taken by more to the point and exciting directors of the 90’s like Tarantino and Rodriguez. Damned has a look to it that is reminiscent of soap operas. The shots are so soft and over blown, its hard to take them with any sense of threat. Having not read the source material but in this films short running time, we get no discussion from the adults about the children, in why they are all blond, walk in two by two and why they all wear grey.
Having been a massive fan of Superman, it was good to see Christopher Reeve headline a film again, and it was actually on this film set that he bought the fateful horse ‘Buck’ that would throw him at an equestrian event and change his life forever. He has the good looks, masculinity and charisma to hold the screen and is a well cast actor in this film, its sad in hindsight, knowing that he wouldn’t headline any further major releases, he is sadly missed.
In conclusion, I was disappointed in the look and feel of Village of The Damned, even with the touch of a former master of horror. The film could have been 20 minutes longer giving the story more time to investigate the horrors going on in the small time.