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'The Children' (2008)
Quick synopsis: A New Year's Eve getaway turns into a terrifying ordeal for two families when their children inexplicably transform into cold-blooded killers.
Why it's worth your time: This relatively-unheralded U.K. shocker went straight-to-DVD in the States - which is a shame, considering how superior it is to the majority of big-screen horror flicks. Director Tom Shankland engineers an atmosphere of overwhelming dread as the titular children come down with a mysterious virus that transforms them, one by one, into malevolent butchers. Favoring slow-burn suspense over gratuitous scares, the film is a deft, terrifying exercise in paranoia anchored by above-average performances and a single chilling question: if your own beloved offspring tried to kill you, could you bring yourself to fight back?
- Chris Eggertsen