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The evil kid in this above-average psychological thriller never overplays his hand -� no deals with the devil, spinning heads, or indeed any onscreen violence at all. Instead, director George Ratliff (he co-wrote with David Gilbert) has perverse fun showing how easy it is to tip an upscale urban nuclear family into chaos using only the worst intentions of a nine-year-old boy who prefers mummifying animals to playing baseball. Sam Rockwell, Vera Farmiga, and Dallas Roberts turn in good perfs as the clueless grownups, while juvie actor Jacob Kogan, as the Mean Widdle Kid, only has to stand there with a somber look on his face. Smart dialogue, but ultimately not enough of a payoff for horror fans.




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