With a title like Child Eater, you know that there’s gotta be some boogeyman level shit going on. While the main bad guy in this does eventually seem to fall into the boogeyman category per the rules that I set up initially; I think the film itself doesn’t really know what it wants this thing to be. Though, honestly, the fact that it’s a full hour and 15 minutes shorter than yesterday’s meandering mess, The Empty Man, it at least goes by fast.
In the small town of Widow’s Peak, there was a gruesome series of murders 25 years ago where some old guy went crazy when he started to lose his eye sight and reasoned the best way to remedy this was to eat the eyes of children. Now a single dad and his kid, Lucas, have moved into the house that was near the scene of the crime? Was the scene? It’s a little hazy. Anyway, Lucas goes missing and it’s up to his babysitter, Helen, to save the day because she has the power of wanting to be a mom or something. Also, for a dude named Child Eater, this guy certainly seems to only feed on adults.
The monster in this is really all over the place in terms of how the movie wants to project him. We get that little bit of lore about the actual human man that committed the atrocities back in the day but no resolution of if he was caught or died or whatever. Sometimes it seems like they want this to be a slasher returning home though the 25 year time jump and the fact that the man was already old back in the day seems like it would be hard for a 90 year old guy to be this spry. Also, he takes at least 2 shotgun blasts at point blank range that we see and it doesn’t seem to effect him. However, he doesn’t act like a ghost or anything and the end of the movie makes it seem more like he’s some kind of manifestation of the evil woods. Anyway, I just like my horror movies to establish some rules and then stick by them.
Part of the rules thing is that they also almost establish a creepy thing about the killer but never really play into it. They say he was super good at hide and seek and you couldn’t even tell he was there until you heard his breathing. Now, admittedly, being super good at hide and seek because you can stand still real good isn’t the strongest monster gimmick I’ve heard but they tell the audience this fact and then don’t really pay it off. There is no murderous game of hide and seek any more than anyone trying to not get caught by a monster is technically playing hide and seek. The movie also dedicates time to talking about Lucas’ necklace from his dead mom and how it’s silver and it keeps monsters away and then he puts it in a slingshot to shoot the child eater and… nothing. It gets stuck in the eater’s eye and he pulls it out and the necklace never gets mentioned again. That kind of set up without payoff is so annoying.
I didn’t even mention an entire character. The kid that managed to get away 25 years ago. She’s now crazy in the woods and her entire purpose in this film is to hamper any attempt at getting Lucas to safety because she’s just so goddamn nuts. She’s supposed to be this “guardian of lost children” and her previous experience would have you think she’d be somehow important but no. Just more wasted potential in a movie that loves to set things up for no reason.
Score: 2 out of 5