WHO CAN KILL A CHILD? DVD Review

The kids aren’t alright

Release Date: OUT NOW!
1976 * 18 * 107 minutes * £16.34
Distributor: Eureka
Director: Narciso Ibanez Serrador
Cast: Lewis Fiander, Prunella Ransome

It starts with seven minutes of credits which feature archive footage of atrocities against humanity, especially children – Auschwitz, the Korean war, Vietnam and so on. It’s a bit heavy, but you straight away realise this is no ordinary movie.

An English couple in Spain head to a remote island for a little peace, but on arriving find that it’s been overrun with children. The adults are all but gone, although one shows up to explain that the kids have gone crazy, murdering the grown-ups – and it’s tough to fight back because, as he ventures, who can kill a child?

Like Hitchcock’s The Birds, only with younglings as the creatures who go a little crazy sometimes, Who Can Kill A Child? is a highly effective, deliciously subtle horror film that’s genuinely unsettling. That most of it’s shot in the bright sun only adds to the chills, and the deserted town plot once again works its tantalising magic.

It largely avoids mistakes that could have spoilt it: the child actors are as good as could be wished, the two leads are believable and sympathetic, and it doesn’t make compromises to deliver a pat ending. One criticism might be that it’s a little too long – dumping those grim, drawn-out opening credits would have been a good idea for starters.

Extra:

A brief but interesting interview with the director and a slightly longer one with the cinematographer. Russell Lewin