Now, here's a thing: two years after its US release, this bad seed thriller reaches Britain, by-passing cinemas despite healthy US box-office takings. The reason has nothing to do with the film's shortcomings and everything to do with the murder of the Liverpool toddler James Bulger by two small boys and the media uproar which followed. Based on an original screenplay by Ian McEwan (who disowned the film), the story concerns young Mark (Wood), who comes to stay with his aunt and uncle and gradually discovers that his cousin Henry (Macaulay Culkin) is psychotic. Despite a few crude philosophical stabs at the nature of evil, the film is basically a straight-ahead melodrama, driven home with force if not finesse by the director of The Stepfather. Kit Culkin apparently held Fox to ransom over Home Alone 2 to extend his son's range with this role - in the event, young Mac is decisively upstaged by Wood, but the film's strongest selling point has to be a cliff-top finale in which the tyke's own mother has to choose whether he'll live or die. A summer camp classic.
Cast and crew
Daniel Hugh Kelly