Who Can Kill a Child? (1976)

who can kill a child poster 1976 movie
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 1/10

Tense, taunt thriller

The opening sequence with actual war atrocities is hard to watch and off-putting for a conceptual idea that doesn't entirely pay off

Movie Info

Movie Name: Who Can Kill a Child?

Studio: Penta Films

Genre(s): Horror

Release Date(s): April 26, 1976

MPAA Rating: R

who can kill a child lewis fiander prunella ransome hd

A relaxing (hot) vacation on a remote island while I’m very pregnant? Yep…sounds like you picked this vacation, hubby

Tourists Tom and Evelyn (Lewis Fiander) are getting away before the birth of their third child and exploring Europe.  Traveling to the remote Spanish island of Almanzora, they discover something is different.  All the adults seem to have disappeared and the town seems deserted except for a few children.  When they realize that the children are behind the disappearances, Evelyn and Tom discover themselves in a fight for their lives.

Directed by Narciso Ibáñez Serrador, Who Can Kill a Child? (¿Quién puede matar a un niño?) is a Spanish horror thriller.  The movie is an adaptation of Juan José Plans 1976 novel El juego de los niños and was also released under the titles of Island of the Damned, Would You Kill a Child?, Island of Death, and Trapped.  The film has received positive reviews and a cult following over the years.

Horror movies involving kids always raises the question of what will you do to protect yourself…and Who Can Kill a Child? puts it right in the title.  The movie puts that question to mind when killer children throws back the question of war right back on adults.

who can kill a child woman murdered

They’re coming to get you…

The movie’s opening is actually the hardest part.  The film uses real news footage of war atrocities from World War II and up…demonstrating that in war, the innocent (like children) often pay the price while not having any say over their treatment.  The film then goes into the idea of “what if” the children behaved like the adults, killed, and threaten to spread their war all over the planet…would you do anything when faced with a six year old girl trying to murder you?  While the characters (like in Children of the Corn) are painfully naïve (who wants to believe a child can kill?), it does take them too long to be proactive…and they are also frustratingly stupid in their behavior.  The last sequence of the film kills me and leads to an ending similar to Night of the Living Dead.  It might be cathartic and real, but it is frustrating.

Lewis Fiander and Prunella Ransome are solid in the film.  They seem like really normal people and aren’t “supermodel” type stars that are often cast in horror films.  They are the typical outsiders trapped in a weird place which helps build the fear.  The movie also does a surprisingly good job in casting the children.  They are all very basic ’70s kids.  They have great devilish looks but also extremely innocent looks (when they are scared or feigning fear).

who can kill a child killer kids ending

All bets are off at this point…every man (and child) for themselves!

The visuals for the film are quite strong.  You get a lot implied violence and clever photography the first part of the film.  It was one of those movies where you question if you are actually going to see any of the violence.  Many have pointed out the homages to Hitchcock films like The Birds in the presentation.  The film takes an even darker turn when the question of Who Can Kill a Child? is answered, and it is on…you hate to root against a bunch of kids, but you are happy when Tom finally acts.

Who Can Kill a Child? was a surprisingly effective and tense thriller.  It has a real grindhouse feel but modern transfers show a clean, quality-made film that is above many other comparable films of the genre and period.  The story was adapted again in 2012 as Come Out and Play and the story was also adapted into a radio play in 1999.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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