previously titled RAILWAY CHILDERN
Dir. Jason Figgis
Reviewer. Martyn Wakefield
From the outset of Jason Figgis’ CHILDREN OF A DARKER DAWN it’s obvious that this film is not going to be nice. A flu epidemic (ed - if only we knew what was ahead) that only affects the adult population driving them insane and violent and with eventual death, nine months later we’re left with sisters Evie (Catherine Wrigglesworth) and Fran (Emily Forster) are left to fend for themselves as they travel across the isolated Irish landscape, scraping what food is left and leaving Evie to play mother to Fran, reading their favourite book, The Railway Children (ed - hence the films original released title, RAILWAY CHILDREN).
A population reduced to children with the hauntings of what has been left with some rather graphic sights for young eyes, watching their parents and elders go insane with fatal results, is all that remains and left to fend for themselves, the world becomes a big playground with schoolgirl clicks and bullies making room for the weak and vulnerable.
Figgis has achieved in this bleak film of not only survival but also adaptation is a very dark and harrowing drama that will haunt you for a long time. The innocence of youth taken and in its place, replaced with violence and rule-free world that lets the schoolyard bullies have their way. In what looks set to be a seen it all before, 28 DAYS LATER British dramatized horror is flip reversed in a twist of nature for the genre that leaves the insane parents simply crazy and when it’s time for the children to fend for themselves, their animal nature takes turn to lead to the cannibalistic horrors of the desperate.
What CHILDREN OF A DARKER DAWN lacks in pace, it makes up in the drama of survival and the freedom that no-rules creates is mere fantasy and only the strong willed will survive. Catherine Wrigglesworth gives a striking performance as the strong willed older sister and with such a young cast playing such harrowing scenes of torment and fear, it’s hard not to envision why we will not see more from the actors in this film. This is storytelling at its finest scrapping OTT special effects and the over used zombie apocalypse for dark characterisation and focusing on the horrors of humanity in a way that will not be forgotten too soon.