Wicked Little Things

Year: 2006
Director: J.S. Cardone
IMDB Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0470000/


Some movies have lots of potential but never live up to it.  Wicked Little Things is one of those movies. The movie begins with a good set-up: a wicked man in the early 1900s uses child labor to work his mine, and the children are all killed in an accident.  We flash forward to our main characters, a mother and her two daughters forced by financial constraints into moving to the deceased husband’s family home in the mountains of southwest Pennsylvania.  Little does the family know that the hungry ghosts of the dead children still haunt the land, seeking revenge on the mine owner’s descendant.

This story has all the seeds of a great horror flick.  You have dead children out for revenge, an isolated location, and a family in the midst of a crisis.  This sound like it should all work, but it doesn’t.  The pieces just don’t fit into place.

The first issue is the ghosts themselves; they aren’t ghosts.  At one point they are described as zombies, and they do eat the flesh of the living.  However, the kids, while sort of creepy, look more filthy and gaunt than zombie-like.  There’s no rotting flesh, no missing limbs.  They look like they should be ghosts and act like they should be zombies.

A second issue is the family.  The mother seems far too willing to accept the strange things going on in the house.  When the family arrives at the old abandoned house, they discover fresh blood marking the door.  Later that night the mother has a nightmare of a zombie child murdering her with a pick-axe, and when she gets up she discovers the door to the house standing wide open, but she doesn’t contact the local sheriff.

The older daughter makes friends with some of the local highschool kids, and their idea of a good time seems to be parking about half a mile from the house and listening to the radio.  Coming from a small town myself, I can assure you that kids from such rural areas don’t like spending more time in the middle of nowhere, and I would have expected them to go to the nearby town to hang out.  Also, parking in the woods at night telegraphs the inevitable attack by the zombie-ghost children.

The youngest daughter makes friends with one of the zombie-ghost children and apparently speaks to her frequently.  Despite this, she never tells her mother what the children actually want, or why they won’t hurt the little girl or her sister (this information comes from a different source eventually).  Also, though she is young, she appears to be old enough to know not to run off into the woods alone or to play near old, abandoned mines, but both happen fairly early on.

Finally, we never really connect with the dead children.  They’re mostly undiscriminating in their choice of victims, only avoiding their own family bloodlines.  While what happened to them is horrific, they seem less interested in their vengeance  than on simply feeding on flesh.  That is, until the final scene where the two-dimensional descendant of the original land baron, who has no redeeming qualities at all, is attacked instead of the mother.

In all, the movie sets up plenty of potential scares and a good plot on paper, but it fails to execute.  The pieces just never come together into a solid whole, and the scares are so telegraphed that you never really fear for any of the main characters. It seems like someone had a great idea for this story, but there are too many missed opportunities, too many vague inconsistencies for me to recommend this movie.

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