Killer Kids: 5 Unforgettably Lethal Children In Film

Features
by Drew Taylor
August 15, 2013 1:04 PM
17 Comments
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"Violet & Daisy" (2013)
Poor James Gandolfini. One of his last roles was in "Violet & Daisy," a borderline unwatchable indie thriller about a pair of young assassins (Alexis Bledel and, again, Saoirse Ronan) who kill people but mostly rattle on about the nature of their jobs. Gandolfini plays a mark who the two are supposed to murder but instead just chat with for most of the movie. He's a "mysterious" figure, for sure, but there's so much dialogue you wonder what else there is left to discover. While the movie attempts at showing you how a pair of young girls, when dealing with their job of murdering folks, would still, essentially, be young girls, the tone awkwardly shifts between pitch black and hot pink and the entire enterprise comes across like a toxic mixture of "Mean Girls" and "Things To Do In Denver When You're Dead." Bledel and Ronan, for their parts, try their damnedest, even if it seems like Ronan is spinning her wheels after starring in the similar (but vastly superior) "Hanna," but their hard work is largely undone by the leaden script and direction, both by Geoffrey Fletcher. At the beginning of "Violet & Daisy," you're intrigued by this idea of young girls killing people (especially since in the opening sequence they're dressed as nuns) but by the end you're left wondering why they were chosen in the first place for this kind of work, especially after we've watched them suck on lollipops and play pattycakes. Most killers don't do that kind of thing. At the very least not in front of the guy who they're about to kill. 

"RoboCop 2" (1990)
In a movie full of exceptionally poor decisions and bad taste, the creme de la creme of both might be the Hob character (played by Gabriel Damon), a pint-sized drug lord who has no problem executing people and is addicted to a dangerous street drug called Nuke. This is a character who is so tiny and ruthless that at one point he tries to buy out the police force so that he can sell the drug. Later, he gets murdered by the new RoboCop, a former drug lord who was turned into a giant mechanical beast. Hob is the most outwardly evil kid on our list, which makes him even more tragic. Often, despite the button-pushing efforts of co-screenwriter and comic book legend Frank Miller (a man who practically bathes in taboos), the sadness of Hob comes through more often than menace. He seems like a kid dressed up in his best "Bugsy Malone" get-up, even when he's doing truly repugnant shit. When RoboCop comes across his bullet-riddled body, it's surrounded by money and gold, the things that Hob was so desperate for. It's meant to be ironic but, like everything else in "RoboCop 2," it seems unnecessarily over the top. We get it. He was a kid. And kids die. But he was also pretty fucking evil.

"Hard Candy" (2005)
It's a wonder so few films have been made about sexually predatory Internet couplings, but "Hard Candy" is one of them. In it, photographer Jeff (Patrick Wilson) meets up with the underage Hayley (a star-making performance by Ellen Page) following some Internet communications, which we get to see, fleetingly, at the beginning of the movie. Soon, though, the tables are turned, and a potential "To Catch A Predator" scenario turns into something more along the lines of one of the "Saw" movies. Hayley, it turns out, is an avenging angel of sorts, has been tracking Jeff, and has evidence that he is a horrible, horrible pedophile (something he denies). The rest of the movie is a psychological grudge match between Hayley and Jeff, told impressively with baroque flourishes by David Slade (who would go on to do one of the 'Twilight' movies and direct the pilot for "Hannibal"). Maybe most chillingly, especially for someone so young, is that you get the impression that Hayley has done this before and will do it again. She is the killer kid who has a real sense of purpose and social responsibility, which is so hard to find in youngsters these days.

But those aren't the only killer kids in movies (that aren't demonically possessed or otherwise overthrown by malevolent spirits — there are just too many of them to name here). There's the little kid from "Sin Nombre," and pretty much all of the little kids from "Battle Royale," "Johnny Mad Dog" and "City of God." Macaulay Culkin went bad for "The Good Son," the tykes of "Mean Creek" aren't so innocent, nor are the campers at "Eden Lake." Any other pint sized terrors we missed out on? Any little kids scare the hell out of you? Let us know below.


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17 Comments

  • ChicagoRob | August 31, 2013 9:58 PMReply

    sorry but not having the crazy boomerang throwing kid from Mad Max 2 disqualifies this list!!

  • immature | August 28, 2013 4:09 PMReply

    Two words for you: "Little Sweetheart." You might also check out "The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane." Terrific cult favorites, both.

  • DUUDE | August 27, 2013 12:44 AMReply

    I have Game of Thrones on videocassette. That puts Joffrey on this list!

  • fairportfan | August 22, 2013 2:04 AMReply

    "...the frayed nerve-ending woundedness of Portman's [performance] which, at that age, remains a marvel of child acting."

    And about the best thing she's done in her entire career.

  • Markunator | August 24, 2013 2:04 PM

    Nonsense. What about "Black Swan"?

  • Javier | August 18, 2013 2:13 AMReply

    Macauly Culkin- The Good Son............done.

  • MB | August 16, 2013 2:55 AMReply

    The most unforgettable for me is Benny's Video by Haneke.

  • Angela Scott | August 15, 2013 8:45 PMReply

    Chilling. 'The Bad Seed' 1956 starring Patty McCormack. A housewife suspects that her seemingly perfect 8-year-old daughter is a heartless killer.

  • dazza | August 15, 2013 3:05 PMReply

    Mathilda never kills anyone. Not even in the longer cut of the film.

  • DAZZA | August 16, 2013 10:54 AM

    That is so. Unless...

    a) The lack of sleep this week has affected my memory.
    b) You're assuming she kills off screen or is primed to kill as soon as Leon is no longer there to look after her. I think the film reads more clearly the other way, that even with all the training, when she tries to take vengeance into her own hands...she's just a normal kid who isn't remotely a capable killer.

  • Gabe Toro | August 16, 2013 2:05 AM

    Is that so, Mr.All-Knowing?

  • JM | August 15, 2013 2:07 PMReply

    The youngin's in "City of God".

  • Noel | August 15, 2013 1:50 PMReply

    The murderous kid in 'Robocop 2' was great too

  • Ken | August 15, 2013 1:28 PMReply

    Am I the only who's seen the movie "Mikey"? It came out in 1992 and it's about a young kid who turns out to be a violent psychopath. Not possessed by the devil or anything like that, he's just a cold-blooded killer. I haven't seen it in forever and it's not very good, but this article reminded me of that film.

  • Zack | August 15, 2013 1:16 PMReply

    Jodie Foster in "The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane" or GTFO.

  • gert | August 15, 2013 1:13 PMReply

    how bout Heavenly Creatures, those kids very some psycho kids if you ask me

  • JM | August 15, 2013 2:08 PM

    Yup. True story too.

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