Review: Wicked Little Things (2006)

Rarely is a movie both completely predictable, yet still fun and entertaining.  This movie manages to strike that fine balance, and because of that, it moves way up the list for my picks from the first set of Horrorfest films.  I'd probably put it in the #3 or #4 slot, behind Unrest and Snoop Dogg's Hood of Horror.
The set-up is simple - back in the early 1900s, children were used by a greedy mine operator to drag dynamite into places that adults couldn't reach.  Of course, things go wrong, and an explosion traps a group of the children alive in a collapsed shaft, resulting in an investigation that ultimately closes the mine - but leaves the owner off the hook for his blatant safety and labor violations.  Needless to say, the souls of these children don't rest well, knowing the man who caused their deaths escaped justice.  So they somehow return, wandering the woods around the mine and feasting on the flesh of animals (or the occasional human) unlucky enough to cross their path.
Fast-forward to the present, and we have a newly-widowed mother of two - a young girl and a teenager - down on her luck after the death of her husband.  The family literally has almost nothing, except for the deed to a house out in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by woods.  As it turns out, her husband's family were miners back in the day, and the house was "worker's quarters", provided by the mining company.
Of course, the typical "ghost story" aspects are foreshadowed by the townsfolk, particularly the high-school crowd that the teenage daughter immediately clicks with.  And, as I completely expected, the youngest daughter finds a doll, which she tells her mom belongs to "Mary", who "lives in the woods".  Yep, Mary is one of the flesh-devouring ghouls, but due to the particulars of her condition won't eat the flesh of family of the miners killed.
There's also the requisite recluse, played perfectly by Ben Cross (whom I have loved as an actor since his role as Barnabus Collins on the revival of Dark Shadows).  He tosses blood onto the doors of the family's new home, and places rabbits and other small critters on spikes throughout the woods, keeping the ghoulish children at bay.
And, soon enough, the human antagonist arrives - the grandson of the mine owner, who intends to clear all of the land owned by the mining company and start anew...including all of the homes on the property, forcing Karen and her girls onto the streets.  Of course, the ghouls have other ideas for him.
Overall, there's nothing shockingly great about this movie, but at the same time there's nothing shockingly bad.  The special effects are decent for the most part, and the children look appropriately cute and creepy, simultaneously.  It's not the best, but far from the worst, and if you're interested in some mindless horror fun, this movie will definitely satisfy that need.