Roxanne Benjamin’s There’s Something Wrong With The Children tries to add some visual flair but ultimately can’t escape from being a derivative misfire.
Children are the future and, for better or worse, are seen as an absolute essential for some to be considered true adults. Although the modern age has put slightly less pressure on some to have children and start a family, the effects of parenthood and how it changes a person or a couple can still be felt with each passing day. For some, having a child is what brings a relationship together and on an individual level, completes them. For others, however, it can be the very thing that breaks down the excitement and heart within a loving romance. Roxanne Benjamin’s There’s Something Wrong With The Children is a story of two couples with contrasting views on parenthood and how that next step of adulthood is sometimes more sinister than we think.
There’s Something Wrong With The Children follows Margaret (Alisha Wainwright) and Ben (Zach Gilford), who take a weekend trip with their longtime friends, Ellie (Amanda Crew) and Thomas (Carlos Santos). What was meant to be a fun vacation however begins to turn sinister when Ben suspects that something supernatural may be occurring when Ellie and Thomas’s children disappear into the woods late at night and return with very different personalities.
For much of There’s Something Wrong With The Children, we follow this group of two couples as they vacation together in the woods. The premise and character drama within the film isn’t particularly original but where the real flaws begin to show is within the chemistry shared between the cast. Although Zach Gilford shines somewhat as his character’s journey in the film allows him to have the most fun within his role, there’s a massive lack of any real emotional investment that largely falls down to the lackluster script.
From the start, Ellie and Thomas are a couple who are on thin ice with each other and it’s from that where the film’s theme of parenthood and the toll it takes on people begins to present itself. Although Ellie and Thomas have two children and love them dearly which the film devotes some time to in its opening minutes, their rocky relationship as a couple isn’t given any time to develop and any positive advancements they share together to confront these issues happen off screen with minimal impact. This leads to There’s Something Wrong With The Children feeling like a film more concerned with trying to present the themes it chooses to bring up without offering any valuable insight on the characters it pushes to the forefront.
Despite the lackluster script and narrative, there are some redeeming qualities in There’s Something Wrong With The Children that mostly come from Roxanne Benjamin’s direction and visual flair. One notable example of this comes in the form of the opening credits which harken back to horror of the 80s with a score by The Gifted that takes heavy inspiration from the synth heavy music of John Carpenter. While many of the more stylish flourishes ultimately don’t offer anything particularly meaningful for the narrative, they at least offer some light relief from the general lack of notable content contained within the film’s 90 minute runtime. At the same time however, it does remind you of more interesting horror films that There’s Something Wrong With The Children can’t really compete with.
There’s Something Wrong With The Children is an unfortunate misfire that suffers from a lack of any emotional investment and originality that ultimately leaves you feeling bored more often than scared. Roxanne Benjamin tries her best to add some visual flair from the director’s chair but it sadly isn’t enough to save it from absolute mundanity. The themes of parenthood and the mental toll it has on people is handled poorly and lacks any real depth that can be applied to create a meaningful narrative. At best, it’s an occasionally stylish horror film but at worst, it’s a derivative and uninteresting bore that lacks any strong ideas of its own.
There’s Something Wrong With The Children is now available to watch on digital and on demand.