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THE INNOCENTS gets 8/10 Beware of the kids


Directed by Eskil Vogt

Starring Rakel Lenora Fløttum, Sam Ashraf, Mina Yasmin Bremseth Asheim, Alva Brynsmo Ramstad

8/10

It’s hard enough trying to juggle the great responsibilities that come with great powers, but a film like The Innocents shows it’s even messier when you’re just a kid. This new horror-drama film really delves into the small world of these kids and explores how they react to the powers they have (and keep it secret from the adults), along with all the fun and the troubles they bring.

Ida (Rakel Lenora Fløttum) and her family move to a new apartment, where she soon makes friends with the neighbours Ben (Sam Ashraf) and Aisha (Mina Yasmin Bremseth Asheim), who both show her their extraordinary abilities: Ben has telekinesis, Aisha has telepathy. The three of them play together with their powers, and Ida’s autistic sister Anna (Alva Brynsmo Ramstad) is brought in, as the kids may have a way for her to break out of her muteness.

The film looks at how kids would explore such powers, though for good and bad. It’s a film that truly does feel like it understands and is accurately presenting a worldview from a kid’s perspective, not just in their little fidgety quirks, but in how they learn about their own morality, forcing them to grow quickly.

This may not be the scariest film for a horror, with the terror coming from a handful of creepy moments involving creepy sound design. But these moments are appropriately short, as the film has to keep up a tension with showing how these kids get more (ir)responsible with their powers.

This impressive sophomore directorial feature comes from Norway’s Eskil Vogt, who has co-written a number of films with director Joachim Trier, most recently The Worst Person in the World, and before that Thelma, which was another film about people (this time young female adults) who discover and explore their telekinetic power. But this film seems to be better, it’s a richer and more identifiable tale that makes the audience ponder their own childhood and how they too would react to discovering their powers.

The film most similar to this one would be the Australian film Celia, which not only had an identical-looking young girl in the lead, but also had no qualms about portraying kids behaving badly. The difference is that in that film the kids simply took their wobbly morals from the adults, whereas this film shows adults/parents to be mostly responsible and caring people – and usually those most dramatically affected by the kids’ powers.

Although the plot gets a bit murky towards the otherwise memorably made climax, The Innocents still has a very strong sense of what it means to be to have powers but from the perspective of kids – how they may use them for good or for evil or simply for fun.

DAVID MORGAN-BROWN

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