Children of Sin (Movie Review)

Imagine living in a world where an omnipresent dread clouds your every step. You cannot ever feel comfortable and you cannot feel like a day will come where you could just breathe easy being yourself…so what do you do? Well, you don’t do anything. The people who tell you this is the case will answer it for you. How? Shipping you off to conversion therapy, that’s how.

This is the world of Children of Sin, a satirical jibe from Christopher Wesley Moore (Triggered 2019, A Stranger Among the Living 2019) at control freak culture. Available on Amazon Prime as of April 22, 2022, wears its low budget bona fides on its sleeve, Moore’s vision is scathing but also tongue-in-cheek, while gets at some pretty contemporary issues in a playful way.

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The store follows Emma (Meredith Mohler: Triggered 2019, A Stranger Among the Living 2019) and Jackson (Lewis Hines: Mimi: Blood Thicker Than Water 2021, A Unspoken Truth 2022) are siblings suffering under their mother’s marriage to a religious freak of a foster dad. The messiness of teens finding themselves proves too much for daddy, so he forces mom in a show of “love” to send the kids to Abraham House, a Christian conversion camp. Run by the super-zealot Mary Esther (Jo-Ann Robinson: Scalps 1983, The Devil’s Doll 2016), the camp harbors a dark secret that Emma especially becomes determined to root out.

Firstly, Children of Sin is not out to be a genre masterpiece. The movie poster art shouts it out, stating this is an unabashed love letter to a certain stripe of low budget ’80s Horror. So go in with that sense about it. The good news is that it is definitely not without its charm. It knows what it is, it does not try to hide it and it just has fun with it. It is timely satire, it has some legit uncomfortable moments, and it ultimately has a positive message, though dark in its implications.

Guilt pervades the story as the adults, perhaps the true children of sin, cannot deal with the choices they have made in their own lives. Of course they punish the next generation because they are not as psychologically high strung. That in mind, your results are totally going to vary with this. Children of Sin is absolutely winking ironically at its audience. So the acting, the lighting, the cinematography and the audi0 are all purposely subpar; similar in affect to Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez’s Grindhouse films.

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All of these factors may flat out rub people the wrong way. For example, the audio mix can be distracting. It’s flat out terrible at times. This might kill your interest. The acting is iffy, but within the cheesy ‘80s Horror feel it is looking to evoke, everyone does have their moments to shine. That does not save the performances from feeling amateurish at times. Meredith Mohler’s Emma is pretty good growing up in the face of Abraham House’s horrors. The star of the show is definitely Jo-Ann Robinson because she brings a campy, over-the-top vibe to the villainous Mary Esther. Moore himself gets in on the act as Hank, Mary Esther’s sidekick who shows cracks in the conversion’s façade. .

Overall, Children of Sin is not without its heart! If you are into this kind of penny-budget homage filmmaking, it can be fun. It is kind of a slow burn, but its bizarre idiosyncrasies help set the stage for a really bonkers finale that for its over-the-top vibe that does indeed feel earned. Children of Sin is a real take it or leave it film, and that is Cryptic Rock gives it 2.5 out of 5 stars.

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