Ankle Biters (Canada, 2021)

What will you do to protect the ones you love? These four girls resort to murder in this Canadian thriller.

Sean Chase is a hockey star who is forced to leave the game after an injury left him with a major neck injury. He meets single mother Laura and the two instantly fall in love. When Sean meets Laura’s four young daughters, they are resistant to him. Rosie, Lily, Violet, and Gail do not think Sean would fit into the family. When Sean brings Laura and the girls to his cabin, the girls hear a noise from Sean and Laura’s room, mistaking it for abuse.

The girls hatch a plan to get rid of Sean. However, when Sean and Laura send Matia to babysit the girls, the girls purposely kill Matia by taping her hands and legs and forcing her into the lake. Soon enough, Matia’s “disappearance” causes outrage between Sean and Matia’s parents as well as the local cops, who suspect Sean may have something to do with it. When Sean discovers the horrifying truth, what will he do?

The “bad seed” subgenre of the horror genre is quite a fun one to watch. As insane as that sounds, seeing kids become homicidal maniacs is something worth seeing because it is is watching a sense of inner rage come to life in a world where pent up frustration leads to chaos. Films like well, The Bad Seed, The Good Son, and Mikey are some good examples of the “bad seed” film. Imagine four times the terror with this film because this is one of those films where it involves slow tension but once the chaos happens, it still is shocking.

Real life sisters Rosalee, Violet, Gail, and Lily Reid play the titular “ankle biters”, who will do anything to protect their mom, played by Marianthi Evans. If they only knew what their mom was into, but in any case, her relationship with former hockey player Sean, played by actor/stuntman Zion Forest Lee, is a vital part of the film. All Sean wants clearly is for the girls to accept him. There are times when a few of the girls seem to be a little sympathetic to Sean because he does try hard for them to accept him.

Granted throughout the film, there are a total of three deaths, but it’s the slow tension that works as we see the girls do what they can to protect their mom. Even as we know what they ultimately plan to do, they have to start somewhere and they start with the daughter of Sean’s friend at the cabin and even then, her demise starts out slow, from a purposely failed “trust fall” to the drowning, these little ones are pure evil in a scheming way. Comedian Colin Mochrie makes a memorable cameo as a detective who grills Sean when he’s questioned about the babysitter. And just wait until the third act and epilogue because they bring both shocking moments that have to be seen.

Ankle Biters is a slow moving but worth the wait “bad seed” film with four times the terror in the Reid Sisters, who do a great job alongside the adult cast.

WFG RATING: B+

Dark Star Pictures presents a Flax Films production. Director: Bennet De Brabandere. Producers: Bennet De Brabandere and Michael Flax. Writer: Bennet De Brabandere. Cinematography: Carl Elster. Editing: Bennet De Brabandere.

Cast: Zion Forrest Lee, Marianthi Evans, Rosalee Reid, Gail Reid, Violet Reid, Lily Reid, Matia Jackett, Doru Bandol, Maria Sant’Angelo, Colin Mochrie, Gareth Moyse.

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