If you’re after an original and disturbing horror movie, The Innocents is a must-watch.
Eskil Vogt, the director and screenwriter behind the Norwegian film shares that the idea came to him when he watched his children - now 11 and nine - play at the school gates. The children weren’t aware Vogt was looking on, and he noticed how differently they behaved with their friends than at home. Vogt wanted to delve into the secret world of childhood. Now, we’re not saying all children turn into supernatural power-wielding murderers when their parents aren’t looking, but The Innocents certainly takes an interesting view of what kids get up to when adults turn their back…
The story is set in an apartment complex at the height of the Nordic summer. We follow two sisters, Ida and her older sibling Anna, as they befriend other young children in the complex, most notably a young, bullied lad called Ben and their quiet neighbour, Aisha. The children soon realise they have extraordinary abilities: Aisha can listen to people’s thoughts, and Ben can control objects with his mind.
Interestingly, and perhaps most hauntingly, the film explores the children’s perceived innocence in the eyes of their parents, and the lack of it when they’re not looking. Ida often pinches Anna, who is severely autistic, and plays cruel tricks on her, such as putting smashed glass in her shoes. Things take a darker turn when Ben and Ida exhibit animal cruelty (a very necessary spoiler as it’s not for the faint-hearted!), and even bleaker still when the children realise the full extent of their supernatural powers and use them for violence.
The Innocents is in UK cinemas and digital from May 20th.