The Children (2008)

The Children 2008tt1172571.jpg poster

  • IMDb page: The Children (2008)
  • Rate: 6.1/10 total 7,144 votes 
  • Genre: Horror | Mystery | Thriller
  • Release Date: 5 December 2008 (Ireland)
  • Runtime: 84 min
  • Filming Location: Cookhill Priory, Cookhill, Alcester, Warwickshire, England, UK
  • Gross: £199,259(UK)(14 December 2008)
  • Director: Tom Shankland
  • Stars: Eva Birthistle, Stephen Campbell Moore and Jeremy Sheffield
  • Original Music By: Stephen Hilton   
  • Soundtrack: One and a Same
  • Plot Keyword: Christmas | Evil Child | Joint | Falling Down A Hill | Nervous Breakdown

Writing Credits By:

  • Paul Andrew Williams (story)
  • Tom Shankland (written by)

Known Trivia

  • Casey’s tattoo is the cover art of the album “Agaetis byrjun” of the Icelandic band Sigur Rós.

Goofs: Continuity: In the end scenes when Casey and her Mum are escaping in the Volvo, the car windscreen goes from frosty at the bottom only, to frozen all over and back to partly frozen again.

Plot: A relaxing Christmas vacation turns into a terrifying fight for survival as the children begin to turn on their parents. Full summary »  »

Story: Elaine and Jonah and their children come to spend New Year with her sister Chloe and husband Robbie and their young family at their isolated country home. One by one the children ,after apparently being sick,become murderous in their actions,setting out to kill the adults,who have to resort to killing the youngsters to survive. Two adult survivors manage to drive off into the snowy countryside but their ordeal is not over.Written by don @ minifie-1  


Synopsis: The film begins with a family of five, mother Elaine (Eva Birthistle), father Jonah (Stephen Campbell Moore), teenage daughter Casey (Hannah Tointon), and the two younger children Miranda (Eva Sayer) and Paulie (William Howes) heading up to a large house to spend New Year with some relatives. When they arrive, they are greeted by Elaine’s sister Chloe (Rachel Shelley), her husband Robbie (Jeremy Sheffield), and their two children; Leah (Raffiella Brooks) and Nicky (Jake Hathaway).

Paulie, who has been feeling unwell for the journey is sick outside the house, so Elaine sees to him. While she looks after him, she tells Casey to carry the bags into the house and Casey asks her if she has heard of contraception. Inside, the children are enjoying themselves, except for Casey, who is annoyed that she didn’t get to go to her friend’s party. Chloe then gets annoyed because Nicky is playing with a toy gun that Casey got him for Christmas. She then continues moaning about her mother, who called at 11pm wanting to speak to the children, and tells them that she hasn’t invited her mother over for New Year. Paulie climbs up on to the table, calling for Elaine, and when Jonah picks him up, he hits him in the face.

Later, when putting the children to bed, Chloe discusses the MMR jabs with Elaine as Jonah tells Robbie about his job. Casey then asks Robbie where she can get reception for her phone, and Robbie shows her because he is glad to escape the conversation. Miranda mentions that Casey isn’t supposed to talk to her friends because Jonah has grounded her. Casey makes a remark about him, calling him Jonah, rather than Dad. Chloe tells the family about how she is home schooling the kids, and Jonah mentions that he is teaching Miranda to speak Mandarin.

Leah shows up and tells Chloe that Paulie scares her, and Miranda agrees to take her back to bed. Robbie takes Casey outside, and she leaves her friend a message on the phone, asking her to pick her up the next day. Casey hears the cat, and walks around to look for it, but she can’t find it, so she re-enters the house. Robbie locks the door when she gets back in. Later on, Leah coughs something up and wipes it on her pillow, meanwhile, Paulie appears at the foot of his parents’ bed, silently watching them.

The next day, everyone has a snowball fight, while Casey talks to her friend. She arrives back and asks Robbie if he has seen the cat, and he says it might be in the woods. She walks past a tent, where Miranda refuses to let her in. Inside, the cat’s collar is hanging up, indicating that the children have done something to it. More of the sick that Paulie had earlier is seen on the floor, indicating that Nicky is sick too.

Later, Paulie is playing with a sledge, and it falls down the hill, hitting Chloe in the leg, causing her to drop a tray and spill hot tea over Jonah. Jonah gets mad at Paulie, and spanks him, with Robbie telling him not to hit children. He then shouts at Casey for not looking after the children, even though it was not her responsibility. The children go to the bedroom, and Miranda tells Chloe that she doesn’t want to be there. When Chloe leaves, Miranda tells the others to stop staring at her.

Robbie is smoking in the greenhouse, when Casey comes in, and shows him her tattoo. Chloe arrives, sees her with her shirt lifted up and glares at her. During dinner, Chloe deliberately causes an argument by mentioning Casey’s tattoo, but Miranda starts screaming at everyone and all the children go mad, so Casey and Robbie go outside to look after them. While there, she goes to the to the other side of the hill to meet her friend, but falls down the hill and hits her head. The kids put Robbie on the sledge, but it crashes, tearing skin off his head.

Inside the house, Jonah tries to get Paulie to go upstairs, but Paulie stabs him in the arm with a kitchen knife, before running away. Chloe finds Robbie, dead and shrieks at Casey to find her children, so Elaine heads out into the woods to find them, and bumps into Casey. Casey tells her she went to meet her friend when the accident happened, but she came back. Her friend texts her, but she sees Leah in the woods. She goes to find Leah, but trips over into some more sick and screams.

Elaine takes Chloe back into the house, then goes outside to find Robbie’s body missing, finding it inside the tent. She sees Paulie on the climbing frame, and climbs up to rescue him, but her high heel slips and she falls, breaking her leg. Casey rescues her and drags her into the greenhouse, but the children begin throwing stones through the windows. Casey makes her a splint to help her walk, but then they hear Paulie trying to get inside. He crawls in, and attacks them, but Casey pushes a shelving unit on to him, before grabbing a knife to defend herself. Elaine tells her to stop, as Chloe comes outside. Elaine tells Casey not to let Chloe inside the tent, but Casey initially refuses to leave her mother to save her hated aunt.

Chloe enters the tent, but Leah (who is inside) runs past her, and begins to cut at the tent. Casey opens it up and rescues Chloe, but the evil bitch blames her for everything going on, and locks her outside. She enters the greenhouse, and tackles her brother to the ground. He picks up a pair of scissors and tries to stab her, but Elaine grabs him and he falls on to a shard of glass. Jonah enters to find Paulie dead.

Inside the house, Elaine tells Jonah what happened, and he blames her for the accident. Chloe calls Elaine and Casey monsters. Chloe tries to get out to find her children, and Casey tries to stop her. Jonah grabs Casey and throws her on to the sofa. Chloe tells Jonah that Casey needs to stay away from her family. Casey tells Elaine that it wasn’t her fault, and the sickness is making the children go mad.

In the woods, Chloe moans and rants at Jonah that Casey is in the house and if the kids go back there, she will abuse them. Casey blocks the doors up and locks the windows, so no one can get in. Chloe then finds her children, who kill her by stabbing her in the eye with a crayon. Meanwhile, Casey finds Miranda upstairs, sabotaging the phone lines, and tries to strangle her. Jonah arrives, pulls her off and hits her with a toy phonebox before locking her in. Casey shouts for him, calling him Dad. Miranda runs downstairs and tells Elaine that Casey was hurting her, and Jonah leaves her on the sofa, before getting into Chloe’s car with Miranda and driving away.

Casey shouts for Elaine to lock the back door, so the kids don’t get in, and she locks it before climbing the stairs, but they get in through the cat flap. She tries to break down the door, but she can’t. As Elaine gets outside the door, the children arrive, and she can’t defend herself against them because they are children. Casey manages to kick a hole in the door, and grabs Nicky’s head, impaling it on a piece of wood. As she is about to stab Leah, Elaine tells her not to.

Elaine starts her car and drives down the street, until she sees Chloe’s car parked at the side of the road. Casey gets out to investigate and finds a hole in the windscreen. She walks around the car and finds Jonah buried under some snow, and starts to be sick. Suddenly, Elaine sees Miranda rushing towards Casey and urges her to move. Elaine accelerates towards her younger daughter, and hits her, killing her instantly. Casey gets back into the car, and they drive away, as other infected children, including Leah, appear in the woods, and the film ends with us wondering whether Casey now has the infection.

{tab=FullCast & Crew}

Produced By:

  • Celia Duval known as line producer
  • Emma Hartley known as associate producer
  • Catriona McKenzie known as executive producer
  • Allan Niblo known as producer
  • Brock Norman Brock known as associate producer
  • Rupert Preston known as executive producer
  • James Richardson known as producer
  • Lee Thomas known as executive producer

FullCast & Crew:

  • Eva Birthistle known as Elaine
  • Stephen Campbell Moore known as Jonah
  • Jeremy Sheffield known as Robbie
  • Rachel Shelley known as Chloe
  • Hannah Tointon known as Casey
  • Rafiella Brooks known as Leah
  • Jake Hathaway known as Nicky
  • William Howes known as Paulie
  • Eva Sayer known as Miranda

..{tab=Supporting Department}Makeup Department:

  • Stuart Conran known as prosthetic technician
  • Jacqueline Fowler known as makeup designer (as Jackie Fowler)
  • Vesna Giordano known as prosthetics makeup artist
  • Paul Hyett known as special makeup effects designer
  • Craig Leong known as special effects armature technician
  • Alison Rainey known as hair stylist
  • Alison Rainey known as makeup artist

Art Department:

  • Kevin Day known as stand-by prop
  • Kimberley Fahey known as production buyer
  • Helen Jones known as art department assistant
  • Ian Newton known as props
  • Dorothy Sullivan known as assistant buyer


Production Companies:

  • Vertigo Films (presents)
  • Aramid Entertainment Fund (in association with)
  • Barnsnape Films (in association with)
  • Screen West Midlands (in association with)
  • BBC Films (in association with)
  • Protagonist Pictures

Other Companies:

  • Dolby Laboratories  sound mix
  • Eastside Communications  publicity: Germany
  • Film Finances  completion guarantor
  • Kodak  motion picture film supplied by
  • PS-PostScript  post-production scripts
  • Post Republic, The  post-production facilities


  • Chrysalis Films (2009) (France) (theatrical)
  • British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) (2012) (UK) (TV) (BBC1)
  • Contender Entertainment Group (2008) (UK) (DVD)
  • Front Row Filmed Entertainment (2009) (United Arab Emirates) (all media) (Middle East)
  • Ghosthouse Underground (2009) (USA) (all media)
  • Icon Film Distribution (2010) (Australia) (DVD)
  • Indies Home Entertainment (2009) (Netherlands) (DVD) (Blu-ray)
  • Indies Home Entertainment (2009) (Netherlands) (DVD) (retail)
  • Kurt Media (2009) (Germany) (all media)
  • Midget Entertainment (2009) (Denmark) (all media)
  • Movie Bank (2009) (Netherlands) (DVD) (rental)
  • Pandastorm Pictures (2009) (Germany) (DVD)
  • SP Films (2012) (Argentina) (DVD)
  • Vertigo Films (2008) (UK) (all media)

..{tab=Other Stuff}Visual Effects by:

  • Jan Berner known as visual effects supervisor: at Elektrofilm Postproduction Facilities GmbH
  • Jan Burda known as visual effects supervisor
  • Anna-Lena Carl known as visual effects coordinator
  • Britt Dunse known as title designer
  • Sebastian Leutner known as visual effects producer
  • Florian Obrecht known as visual effects
  • Ralph Schamberger known as junior compositor
  • Kolja Schoon known as scanning operator
  • Benjamin Seide known as digital compositor

Release Date:

  • Ireland 5 December 2008
  • UK 5 December 2008
  • Germany 10 February 2009 (European Film Market)
  • Belgium 17 April 2009 (Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival)
  • Denmark 17 April 2009 (CPHPIX Festival)
  • Netherlands 18 April 2009 (Imagine Film Festival)
  • Czech Republic July 2009 (Karlovy Vary International Film Festival)
  • South Korea July 2009 (PiFan International Film Festival)
  • Canada 24 July 2009 (Fantasia International Film Festival)
  • Turkey 31 July 2009
  • Canada 18 August 2009 (Toronto After Dark Film Festival)
  • France 6 September 2009 (L'Étrange Festival)
  • Portugal 6 September 2009 (MOTELx Lisbon International Horror Film Festival)
  • France 17 September 2009 (Strasbourg European Fantastic Film Festival)
  • Spain 1 October 2009 (Sitges International Fantastic Film Festival)
  • USA 6 October 2009 (DVD premiere)
  • France 21 October 2009
  • Netherlands 1 December 2009 (DVD premiere)
  • Germany 10 December 2009 (DVD premiere)
  • Mexico 5 March 2010
  • Egypt 10 March 2010
  • Argentina 5 May 2010 (DVD premiere)
  • Peru 27 January 2011
  • Argentina 17 January 2012 (DVD premiere)

MPAA: Rated R for disturbing bloody violent content, terror, language and brief drug use


Filmography links and data courtesy of The Internet Movie Database

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