Who Can Kill a Child? (1976)

Genres - Horror  |   Sub-Genres - Psychological Thriller  |   Run Time - 107 min.  |   Countries - Spain , United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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This impressive Spanish production is one of the great unsung horror films of the 1970's. Who Can Kill A Child? takes the kind of "killer kids" premise that could be either silly or distasteful in the wrong hands and gives it a thoughtful, chilling treatment. Writer/director Narcisco Ibanez Serrador wisely takes a slow-burn approach to the material, allowing the viewer to get acquainted with its two heroes and the setting before moving into horrific territory. Thus, when the horrific aspects really kick in during the film's final third, they have a shocking intensity that lingers in the viewer's mind long after the film is over. Who Can Kill A Child? also benefits from two strong lead performances by Lewis Fiander and Prunella Ransome: both give naturalistic, unaffected performances that make their characters instantly convincing and sympathetic as they try to cope with the bizarre situation around them. It also helps that the story is told with a great deal of style. Key contributors to that style are cinematographer Jose Luis Alcaine, who manages to makes the daytime-set action look eerie and otherworldly and composer Waldo De Los Rio, whose keyboard-driven musical score effectively offsets the horror of the story's events with a lush, melodic sound that provides an effective, often melancholy counterpoint. All in all, Who Can Kill A Child? is a tremendously effective piece of work that deserves to be discovered by a wider audience.