Plenty of bad horror movies go all-in on their title card. You know the drill, a sudden musical sting and then the screen is full with maximally fonted letters, left there for longer than it takes to actually read them because this is the title of the movie and you’re gonna look at it, goddammit, for as long as the director leaves it there.

Roxanne Benjamin gives you one such title card at the outset of There’s Something Wrong with the Children. A powerful synth sting, lots of awkward slo-mo leading up to it, huge green screen-obscuring letters in a font that would make John Carpenter proud:

Honestly, it looks powerfully amateurish and I might have noped out at this point except that I recognized Benjamin’s name from Southbound, a solid horror anthology with something few horror anthologies have: a sense of identity.

And that’s how I came to watch There’s Something Wrong with the Children, which does something very few horror movies of its caliber can manage. It is – through-and-through and without reservation, apology, or hesitation --cosmic horror. It’s about the four main characters, and it spends time developing them because you need to see how it’s also going to dismantle them. But it never turns into something dumb like a slasher movie, or a zombie movie, or a ghost story, or any of the usual tropes that manage to suck in most indie horror. Benjamin keeps it squarely cosmic within the context of this modest script, letting actors instead of latex and CG convey the horror.

It might be a bit slower than you expect from a movie with a title – and title card – this dramatic, but I assure you that’s it is going to some, uh, intriguing places. In the end, it earns its title card, just like it earns that absurd slo-mo in the beginning.

Anyway, I really liked this, and I figure if a few more of you see it, we could maybe have a spoilery discussion about “dead bugs” and such. Here’s where you can watch it:

Not available in Brazil though… maybe one day.

OK, I’m in.

This too is where Tom had me fully in.

By the way, I’m specifically calling this movie out as a far better* version of what I was hoping for in Speak No Evil, another movie about something being not right regarding the children.

* in that it’s the type of horror I personally prefer

What a weird fucking movie. I do not mean the subject matter/plot/etc. Although that’s satisfyingly weird in its own way.

I mean the, uh, “I am going to announce my presence with authoritah” title card/opening sequence.
The fact that the score seems ethereal and weird at times (very fitting) but has those occasional punctuated crescendos that don’t always work (IMO). And those occasional upside down sequences that also sometimes work but sometimes feel out of place (most definitely the one right before the end sequence where you zoom in to the two kids backs and they turn around; I’m not sure what purpose that served; we’re way past any doubt the kids are fucked up at this point). Or the fact that the dad just randomly shows up during that one part of the end.

This movie feels clumsily assembled at times to me. But for large stretches it works great (and at times the score is terrific for what the movie seems to want to do).

Also the argument scene is amazing.

Anyway I really enjoyed this overall.

With the appearance of @peacedog’s post, I’m hereby announcing that the membership of the There’s Something Wrong With the Children Qt3 Fan Club has doubled in size!

Right? I didn’t know what to make of some of the aggressively amateurish bits, but in the end, I think they’re their own kind of value-added. Roxanne Benjamin gets a lot of mileage out of some strange hitches that may or may not be intentional.

Ultimately, that’s what grabbed me most about this movie. There’s a ton of fun cosmic horror out there, but I can’t think of any that present such human characters, sorting out mundane human problems, in believably human ways (I loved the conversation between the two ladies about the couples swap!). It’s such a solid down-to-earth and effective cast that you can let yourself forget you’re watching a horror movie. So that by the time the blood-soaked finale comes along, it’s been very careful to bring the characters with it rather than just running roughshod over them.

Glad you enjoyed it, @peacedog! I’m making you treasurer of the fan club.

Oh yeah that one was very good too. And honestly a lot of the group interactions. Margaret and Ben sort of sussing out the couple tension across a few sit downs. Thomas talking to Ben about starting a family. The initial broaching of Ben’s past “issues”/mental health problem(s). Handling these moments is arguably more important than any other parts of the movie, and so Benjamin really does deserve credit there. This stuff was perhaps only just shy of Weber doing Weber stuff in The Beachhouse or the breakup in Wounds. The mortar that made the movie work.

I thought at first that the kids weren’t quite working for me (basically starting at Ben returning from the ruin and suddenly finding the “kids” alive) but the direction for them grew on me.

Was Thomas’ ringtone the theme to Halloween?

Sometimes Discourse suggests threads to me and I read them and start responding before I notice they’re months old, in case you’re wondering why I am seemingly training to be Rock8Man’s thread necromancy understudy.

Anyway, I haven’t seen this movie, but how can you deploy a title card like this without irony when Cabin in the Woods was 12 years ago?