Robert Voskanian’s Creepy Zombie Horror Film ‘The Child’

Robert Voskanian’s creepy zombie horror film The Child is a solid, claret-spewing creep fest

The Nordon family has hired Alicianne Del Mar (Laurel Barnett) as a nanny for their youngest, oddest child, Rosalie (Rosalie Cole). It seems the girl has never gotten over her mother’s death and spends far too much time in the local graveyard, remembering the funeral and communicating with her “friends.”

Anti-social and abrasive, Rosalie threatens everyone around her, claiming she will call upon her cemetery pals to punish those who bother or have wronged her. No one takes her seriously (she’s just so…strange), but perhaps they should.

For you see, Rosalie has psychic powers and can reanimate the dead. She’s been hanging out in the boneyard, working on bringing the residents back to life. And it’s these flesh-hungry fiends that Rosalie commands to do her evil bidding. After several of the local townsfolk turn up dead, all eyes fall upon this disturbed and destructive kid. Unfortunately, she has that undead army to protect her. When Alicianne and Len (Rosalie’s older brother, played by Richard Hanners) try to escape, the ambulatory, angry corpses chase the hapless duo into an abandoned lumber yard. There, it’s a showdown between the living dead, their intended victims, and the evil mastermind behind the mayhem…The Child.

For a low-budget, even lower expectations exploitation horror film, The Child is a surprisingly effective and incredibly creepy zombie workout. It mingles aspects of the classic Dawn of the Dead films and American Gothic-style horror with references to other “evil children” films like The Bad Seed and Village of the Damned. The Child‘s small budget and atmospheric locations bring an aura of authenticity and naturalism that an overly-produced Hollywood film cannot create. While Rosalie Cole (in the role of…Rosalie?) is a little dull (she comes across as more spoiled than scary, more amateur than menacing), the rest of the cast is first-rate, selling the terror and terrorizing seriously and realistically.

Uneasy suspense and foreboding are created in both the sets and direction. The Nordons live in a very spooky and atmospheric house, and there’s a scene during a blackout that heebies up the jeebies. In addition, the showdown between little Rosalie’s living dead “friends” and our heroine/hero is also exciting and terrifying.

There is blood and gore aplenty, especially in the said climax and the scene where the groovy ghoulies slaughter an old neighbor woman. Anyone expecting a cheap, cheesy slice of drive-in style dreck should walk away from The Child with their bloodlust sated and their reanimated corpse craving satisfactorily quelled. While not up to the standards set by someone like George Romero or even some pus-loving Italians like Lucio Fulci, this is still a solid, claret-spewing creep fest.