First off, I’d like to point out that there are no children in this film. Children can be a blessing and a curse to horror films but even the most hackneyed creepy child would have been preferable to what we get here. The main character, Alan, refers to his companions as “children” because, and there’s no polite way of saying this: he’s a dick. I’ll refer to the rest of the cast as “children” or companions of Alan throughout this ramble because no one would actually be friends with a dick like Alan.
This film has all the standard horror movie ingredients: a cabin in the woods, a graveyard, a mysterious grimoire and a group of naive people to read from it. Alan and the “children” go to a graveyard on an island to resurrect some corpses, apparently for a laugh. At first it seems like Alan is just trying to scare his companions and he has set up some actors to jump out at them pretending to be ghouls. But his behaviour becomes more and more bizarre until the actual raising of the dead sobers him up a bit.
You can never really tell whether Alan actually intended to raise the dead or if he is just messing with his companions but he does seem genuinely disappointed when his incantation doesn’t seem to work. The rest of the group are obviously uncomfortable (to varying degrees) with grave robbing and necromancy but don’t really do much to stop it except pout and throw the occasional tantrum. When the spell doesn’t reanimate the corpse he has got his companions to dig up, Alan gets them to take it back to the cabin so he can defile it at leisure because, as I mentioned earlier, he’s a dick.
Quite why the “children” are present is never really explained although it is implied at several points that Alan employs them as actors and their livelihood/acting break depends somehow on them accompanying him and doing what he says. Normally an explanation of why the kids end up in the haunted house doesn’t really matter in a horror film but Alan is such a huge dick that having anyone agree to go anywhere near him demands a robust explanation.
The background and development of the characters is so minimal that it would be a stretch to call most of them even one dimensional. No explanation given for anyone’s actions or why they put up with the absurd and offensive actions of some of their companions. The acting is much more shocking than any of the events in the film. Characters show absolutely no reaction to dramatic events one minute and scream like a banshee at the slightest provocation later on. Much of the action is even worse directed than the rest of the film with actors frequently standing woodenly waiting to be attacked. At least you don’t notice when the zombies are a little hesitant or wooden. There are no scares & little gore but most of the creature make up effects are very good. Indeed it seems that this is where most of the meagre budget was spent. The creature acting is mostly good too with only a few hamming it up.
At the end of the film we agreed that it had 2 redeeming features: It was short (75 minutes if I recall) and none of the annoying prats survive that long.