Based on the 2012 short of the same name, Child Eater follows a babysitter as she watches the new kid in town in an old house that has a bad history. As she tries to sooth the boy she’s watching, he seems to be good to go to bed. He then decides to go exploring the nearby woods which contain a terrifying legend. Writer/director Erlingur Thoroddsen whose short this feature is based on takes his story of the boogeyman and expands it to a wider story. The creepy figure he creates is at first a looming figure, something that may or may not be real. However, clues abound to its existence and who or what it used to be before it started doing its evil deeds.
The film he builds here takes some time to build the legend of the Child Eater before turning up the creep factor and it works to the film’s advantage as the atmosphere builds nicely before the last third of the film where things go into high gear. The film does not boast a ton of characters but the ones it has work well together and this creates a bond between these characters. The cast here is led by Cait Bliss as Helen Connolly as the babysitter to the new kid in town who has to go find him and protect him. Her performance shows caring and strength when needed. She is supported by Colin Critchley as Lukas Parker, the kid she is watching and who is the one the creature wants. He is an adorable and obstinate little guy who doesn’t give up. His performance rivals that of the adults in the film.
Fiona Tyson does a fantastic job with the creature effects. The creature is revealed slowly in the film which works very well for it and keeps mystery to it, making it possibly scarier. As it is shown more and more, it looks great. The facial makeup is creepy and ugly, yet recognizable. As the film moves forward, there are a few surprises for this creature all the way until the end. It’s a good one and may very well become a favorite for some. The non-creature effects are also good as they are gooey, red, and gross. The film not only sports great special effects, it looks really good which is something that is not easy to do in dark scenes such as the ones in this film.
The cinematography by John Wakayama Carey frames these well and works with the darkness using it to amp up the dread and fear in the wood scenes and in the creepy house. The film has a few very atmospheric and beautiful scenes. Most of the dark scenes are clear and easy to see, however there are a few scenes that could have used a bit more light. Also, this horror fan would have loved an even better look at the creature. Child Eater starts off with a very interesting scene and then moves on to mildly creepy ones until it works its way up to some nicely tense scenes that bring the dread and fear. The creature looks scary and works in context. The film looks good and the effects are great which helps the fear factor. This one is proof that some shorts can be turned into feature films successfully. Stay until the very end of the credit for a nicely creepy last scene.
Brooklyn Horror Film Festival had its first edition from October 14th through October 16th, 2016.