Media Partners | Contributors | Advertise | Contact | Log in | Tuesday 4 October 2022

Children killing children

28th March 2012

Share This Article:

Lord of the Flies, Battle Royale and more recently, The Hunger Games: explicitly and unashamedly, all three of these films show children killing each other, but has anyone actually stopped to consider why we find this sort of subject matter entertaining?

Lord of the FliesI think it’s hard to come to a general, all-encompassing answer, particularly when these films all depict the shocking theme in very different ways.

The Hunger Games, for example, shows an event similar to any other competitive sport, in so far as the contestants are trained beforehand and that each individual is representative of a particular village or community.

 When considering Battle Royale however, the difference is that the group of Japanese teenagers are unaware that they have to kill their own classmates right up until they are released onto the island. What disturbs viewers the most is not the physical acts of violence, but the psychological aspects of the film – the instant pressure put upon these children to kill or be killed, a pressure that actually forces several of them to commit suicide.

 Lord of the Flies, on the other hand, features a group of young children, not even old enough to be considered teenagers, stranded on a desert island. The difference here is that these children are not being forced to kill each other by a higher authority – there is no authority and so they must create it amongst themselves, dividing into separate tribes and giving way to their immature, animalistic tendencies. When Piggy is killed, it is unexpected; they are all shocked by it, and so are we, simply because of how young and innocent the boy is.

 It’s difficult to speculate why filmmakers, and particularly audiences, are drawn to these kinds of films. From a financial point of view, it seems that younger viewers (the target audience) are naturally curious about the subject, especially because they can easily relate to the characters involved. Perhaps this is not just true of children, but of everyone – aren’t we all naturally curious, however shocking we may find it, to see what would happen in situations like these?

 More importantly these films (excluding Lord of the Flies) are set in the future. They are presented as realistic possibilities, maybe even as warnings. Do people watch them for reassurance? I think so. We’re not scared of what we’re seeing - I think we like to feel that this kind of thing won’t happen, especially to our own children, and that gives us a sense of pride, of relief.

 On the other hand, maybe this analysis is irrelevant. These films present new and engaging ideas that haven’t properly been explored in much detail before, and whatever the reason for us liking them, it can’t be denied that they’re very entertaining.

Articles: 29
Reads: 186456
© 2022 is a website of Studee Limited | 15 The Woolmarket, Cirencester, Gloucestershire, GL7 2PR, UK | registered in England No 6842641 VAT # 971692974