Coming Soon: Children of Sin (2022) - Reviewed


The horrors of conversion therapy are often social media afterthoughts for the digital age.  However, for those who would be forced to endure such unspeakable practices, they are a very real nightmare, made manifest by political manipulations and religious indoctrination.  Christopher Moore's latest feature, Children of Sin, is a delicious blend of scathing satire and gothic chills.  Featuring a robust ensemble performance, unsettling implications, and buckets upon buckets of blood, this is the best horror film of the year thus far. 

Two siblings are sent to a religious retreat by their abhorrent stepfather to mend their wicked ways of promiscuity and homosexuality.  Once there, they quickly realize that they have been sent to a dark corner of the backwoods of Florida, a place where no one is truly what they seem, and no one gets out alive. Moore's script has the underpinnings of soapy horror romp; however, the overtones conjure soiled specters of Sirk’s melodramas.  It is immediately apparent that the pristine veneer is an illusion and that beneath it lies danger, given life by Jo-Ann Robinson's unhinged performance as the matron of the conversion camp.  In his previous features, Triggered and A Stranger Among Us, Moore has explored modern interpretations of long-established themes and upended them, using humor, violence, and psychological horror to define the way things have changed and yet, unfortunately remained the same in the modern world.  Children of Sin feels like the next stage in this evolution.  

Luke Zwelsky's synth score offsets the Southern environs, allowing the tension to ebb and flow as the hideous purpose of the camp is revealed.  This dovetails nicely with Moore's direction, as everything builds towards a crescendo of violence.  Meredith Mohler and Lewis Hines give grounded performances as the siblings in the center of the web, but it is Moore himself who steals the spotlight as Hank, the repressed Renfield to Robinson's murderous Mary Esther.  This is a story of self-deception, repression, and the brutal violence that denial can often lead to.  While this concept has been explored in other films, the way Moore and his crew approach it, as an inverted neo-fable, is admirable and Hank is the perfect representation of the hopes and nightmares within.  

Roy Zuniga's makeup and Sally Ross's set decoration are the final pieces.  Low budget films often show their limitations around the edges, but here, the copious amounts of blood and the ominous attention to detail enhance the creepy proceedings in a thrilling combination of control and chaos, two things that inevitably are uncontrollable in Moore's twisted haunted house of regret and self-loathing.  

Coming soon to digital streaming and with a world premiere in Madison, MS on March 23rd, Children of Sin is a devious excursion into the hypocrisies of faith healing and the inherent dangers of "cures" for those deemed defective by the illusion of a moral higher ground.  An absolutely hysterical and unsettling takedown of the powers that continue to fester within the bowels of the free-thinking modern world, this is a remarkable provocation and a blood splattered good time.  

--Kyle Jonathan