Children of the Corn IV: The Gathering (1996)

   
Directed by: Greg Spence

Written by: Stephen Berger & Greg Spence

Starring:

Naomi Watts .... Grace Rhoades
Jamie Renee Smith .... Margaret Rhoades
Karen Black .... June Rhoades
Mark Salling .... James Rhoades
Brent Jennings .... Donald Atkins
Toni Marsh .... Sandra Atkins
Lewis Flanagan III .... Marcus Atkins
Brandon Kleyla .... Josiah
William Windom .... Doc Larson
Salle Ellis .... Jane Nock
Marietta Marich .... Rosa Nock
Jonathan Patterson .... Charlie McLellan
Joshua Patterson .... Scott McLellan
Kay Bower .... Janet McLellan
Samaria Graham .... Mary Anne

Release Date: Direct-to-Video: October 8, 1996

 

 

Rating:

 

A young lady named Grace Rhodes (Naomi Watts) comes to the town of Grand Isle to visit her mother June (Karen Black) who is mentally sick and has been having twisted nightmares. She hasn't left the house to top it all off.
Then Grace's younger siblings starts to have major hayfevers as well as the other local children there and all start acting really strange at the local hospital.
The children then behave very evil by killing one of the local sherrif's as well as the doctor at the hospital. The kids are possessed by an evil force in the cornfield there.
Now Grace must save the children from an evil spirit bent on having its revenge on the town.

 

We spot as always in the series of the films something a bit creepy but this time a little different with the character June answering her door and spotting a sick child needing to be treated along with some twisted moments on twhat's happening here in which you get the feeling that this character is possibly having a nightmare since the story rubs off on you when you're watching is that's just what it is.
A nice shot on a drunken farmer walking through the cornfield as well as dumping someothing into the well with a corpse type figure inside and opening his eyes which looked nice and creepy. Also some nice dark shots on this corpse looking figure wearing the uniform that we've seen the other cult leaders from the previous films darkly speaking and preaching. Plus nice intense shots on this farmer being slayed by him with farm tyools as this is a nice horror touch to the story as well.
Also nice close up shots on her walking up to the steps in the front of her home acting too scared to leave her home as the surroundigs looked necessary for a gloomy day as the weather looked good and muffled.
However alot of the story here seemed terribly slow to follow as there wasn't enough action like in the previous films. We do spot a moment with the character June acting a bit crazy at the dinner table but yet it seemed a bit too much while watching this through.
However we do spot some perfectly psychological moments with the children getting sick and getting hot which there's perfect close up shots on this as it imagins you being in this position as well as their bodies being dunked in cold water as well as one of them trying to prevent themselves going in as there's nice intensity within all of this. Plus some nice hallucination shots on the water looking bloodied which is a nice touch to the story.
A good situation on a young boy named Mark Atkins being called out to the cornfield with nice dark shots on him leaving his home and climbing through the fence to go to it as well as his father Donald trying to find him. This was one of the best settings shot in the film.
Also a nice intense moment with Donald's wife suddenly getting cornered by the possessed children and being slayed which doesn't look pretty to watch at all when we see by what happens here with nice close ups on this.
There's a nice change in the nice old Doc Larson towards two twin siblings that stand out well int he picture whom are possessed saying that they are two killers that have a history in the area as well as this man getting nasty and demandings towards them in which this gives you a chill down your spine that something deadly is going to happen to him and boy does it look gruesome with great close up shots on what's coming to him.
Another great dark moment with two old women discussing a terrifying history of the twon with nice dark close up shots on them while we have some concerned glances on people like Grace on what was said as this adds some nice effective moments making the storyline somewhat a bit better than what we've already seen in the film.
Another good entertaining horror moment is when the children gather around the cornfield and cut their hands to put their blood in a tub of water and summon up a demon as well as having a child jump into the water. Plus a good shot on a demonic hand rising from the water. All of this showed nice effects and well written in for a horror story of this type of genre too.
More great suspenseful moments with a possessed child pushing Grace into a barn as well as her turning on a sprinkler and watching this child melt with neat demonic effects and voice effects too as this was another perfect touch to the story. However it doesn't save the film from being considered average due to the slow plot throughout most of the film sadly.
Bottom line is that I wasn't impressed with this one
as I don't even think that this one had anything to do with the past three flicks and was a story on it's own. It was very dull not showing a heck of alot while watching it all the way through as it mainly showed the hospital and sometimes the cornfield. The story just doesn't go anywhere.

The acting is above average with a big cast but only certain one's were worth mentioning here.
Naomi Watts
(Grace Rhoades) certainly had the nice healthy girl types of looks and was sharp in her speaking as well as in her performance. She added alot of energy into whatever she did in her performance and being fully alert during the terror surrounding her or the intense moments too. Shows off a nice and caring personlity and making this so believeable. She performs a great deal with her character.
Jamie Renee Smith
(Margaret Rhoades) seemed to add alot of nice spunk into her role acting very energetic and on the ball with things. Does well acting disturbed or reacting to her sickness whenever she had to be this way. Shows all of this off well onto the camera and really grabs your attention within whatever she did here.
Karen Black
(June Rhoades) was great by portraying an unstable mother in the film as she does well by acting like a basket case or freaking out but sometimes she's over the top at times. Still knew on how to get into character within whateve she did in the story. Shows great paranoid expressions too. Also does well with her mellow and somewhat caring attitude to her onscreen child cast members as patients.
Mark Salling
(James Rhoades) seemed to really do a good bang on job as someone whom is disturbed as well as showing emotionless expressions as he got into all of this and coming across as perfectly mysterious. He shows a great focus on all of this. Had the right looks and appeal for this role and made things look effective for what he did here especially near the end of his performance too.
Brent Jennings
(Donald Atkins) showed a great seriousness within his performance here as he does a good job with his concerned and protective behavior too. Also was great when he reacts to a tragic moment that he spots along with losing his mind and showing off great energy while doing this. Packs a punch pretty well when he tries to solve the case or ending the terrors that are happening. Yes he seemed to stand out fairly well with his characteristics so he deserves good credit.
Toni Marsh (Sandra Atkins) seemed to add some nice pizzaz into her part as she showed a nice outgoing attitude especially during a dialogue scene with one of her fellow actresses in which she really got into her performance here. However when she is attacked by a force and screaming her intensity needed a bit of improvement but her reactions looked good and wild at the same time.
Brandon Kleyla
(Josiah) stood out fairly well and dark as the new cult leader in which he shows off a good darkenss to his speaking as well as presenting himself. Had a nice knack for whatever he did including when he attacks and slays someone offering some decent blocking within whatever he did here.
William Windom
(Doc Larson) was the best out of the cast in which he came on very strong in his supporting role. Shows off a good charm as well as coming across as believeably outgoing and on the ball with things. He made this come to life a great deal and had the right nice middle aged looks too to be this way. Plus showed a perfect versatality into his part when he starts to sneer and get demanding towards two little boys which shows a believeable force and wickedness to everything.

There was still strong horror violence in this one just like in the sequel.
A drunken man is scythed in the crotch, pitchfork on his wrist, machette in his arm, shovel in his stomach, and finally decapitated by a scythe but all of this is quick.
Another is hit over the head, fingers chopped off with scythe, then slashed to death.
A sherrif is impaled on a scythe.
Someone is slashed in the forehead with a sickle, cut in half by a stretcher.
Another victim is dragged by barbwire and stabbed by a pitchfork.
Someone is stuck to a door by needles in hands, then a sickle thrown into her head.
Another one has his skin melted by quicksilver, then cut with scythe.

David C. Williams was the composer this time as he seems ok with his music but it's not over the top spectacular by any means. However he does have some strong trombone playing and deep drum thumpings which sounds good and common for a horror film of the 90's. Also there's alot of good and clear hissing and echoey sounds along with the odd screechings too which seemed to work in well too. All of this sounded perfectly dark within the whole storylines.
He also gained his work on some other low budgeters like Critters 3, Prophecy 2, Phantoms and Wishmaster 2: Evil Never Dies.