Children of the Corn V: Fields of Terror (Ethan Wiley, 1998, USA)

Children of the Corn V: Fields of Terror is the fifth installment in the Children of the Corn franchise, and the fourth under Dimension Films. By this time, Scream's (1996) postmodern slasher trend had taken the film industry by storm, and in contrast to the prior film - which was played seriously -, there seems to be a bit of a tongue-in-cheek approach here. We can see this with the casting, as there are nods here to other slasher films (Kane Hodder appears as a barman) as well as cult films in general (blaxploitation with Fred Williamson, and kung fu with David Carradine).

Fields of Terror dispenses with a lot of the tropes of the prior films and instead plays more like a traditional slasher film. Here we have the stereotypical group of teens, which is something we haven't seen in the prior installments. The town this time is not abandoned, but instead filled with various characters. The "children" in this case are not the odd and weirdly dressed kids from the prior films, but this time feels quite 90s (one of the girls has her hair in braids like Bjork). This time the children also have an adult leader, played by David Carradine.

So is Fields of Terror an improvement over the prior installments? While the film is better than the fourth, it does not reach the kind of goofy absurdity and entertainment value of Urban Harvest. The film is very front-loaded as far as the kills go and lags later on. The writing is also quite poor, even for a Corn film. There are some deep absurdities in the finale, particularly involving the Eva Mendes character, although the fate of the Carradine and Williamson characters is worth the price of admission. Not the worst entry in the franchise, and not the best.



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