Ol’ Helen, the preggo daughter of the town sheriff, has a seemingly cake gig babysitting young Lucas…well it would be cake except for the fact he lives in a house with a horrible history. Also causing static is Lucas’ belief that some sort of psycho is on the loose and watching him, but no one listens to kids in horror films so that goes over like a fart in church. In reality, this type of situation would result in Helen having a few starts and jumps when the floor boards creaked or the cat jumped down from a shelf, but this is the horror biz my fiends, so our duo naturally run afoul of a boogeyman (previously just a serial killer, but he got an upgrade) who really gets his jollies ripping out (and sometimes eating) children’s eyeballs. Soon Lucas goes a-vanishing and Helen has to nut up and venture into the woods to retrieve him from the clutches of the eponymous terror.
Child Eater (apparently expanded from a short film I have zero F’n knowledge of by the same Writer/Director Erlingur Thoroddsen) is a damn fine lil’ fright flick. It’s an engaging tale with a solid sense of it’s monster’s mythology, plus it’s loaded with a palpable sense of dread and creepy atmosphere (aided and abetted by the dreary Fall scenery) to boot. Another big plus for this one is the terrific acting not only by Cait Bliss as Helen, who brings a great girl next door quality to her role, but also from Colin Critchley as Lucas, a child actor that managed to be a great performer instead of an annoyance that you begged the monster to destroy as quickly as possible (I’m looking at you Noah Wiseman from The Babadook).
I also must applaud the unique (in design as well as history) creature (played with sinister aplomb by Jason Martin) that stalks our heroes; he’s a tall, maniacally grinning, dark glasses wearin’, nightmare of a being, whose bald pate and pointed ears hearkens back to the classic design of Count Orlok from Murnau’s Nosferatu. Additionally, Thoroddsen should be applauded for keeping his pacing tight and out of sight, as this baby runs an hour and twenty two minutes (and that’s with credits) and it flies by like a bat out of hell…all killer no filler here my creeps!
If I have any sort of negative with this flick it’s that the title is a tad misleading. If you go into this expecting a creature that eats kids you are going to look like some sort of horror hound sad faced emoji thingy because this dude eats and/or takes adult eyes almost exclusively, and truth be told the eyes seem to be the only thing he ever obsessed over. They should have named this film Eye Snatcher…or Snatch Eye…okay, maybe not that last one…you know what; Child Eater is a title that puts asses in seats, so F it.
As you can tell, I loved the hell out of Child Eater, and I’m willing to bet you will too. It’s a rad ass creature feature/slasher hybrid that’s well-conceived, acted, and presented and has the capacity to become a superlative fright flick franchise. I demand to see more from Erlingur Thoroddsen post F’n haste!