What’s it like to be the parent of a budding psychopath?
Well, if you’ve ever wondered, this film is for you. First of all, you know you’ve got a psychopath on your hands because from a very early age he’s perfected the Evil Stare. He just sits there in his nappy and stares at you, like in the Omen.
Kevin’s mum is a tense, drawn-looking ex-hippy, and his dad is a fattish, wire-haired man who persists in thinking everything’s just fine right up until the day when his son shoots him dead with a bow and arrow. The film is full of long-drawn out shots of Kevin’s mum looking empty and troubled, and confused flashbacks involving blurry city lights, red stuff, and the persistent thumping of a lawn sprinkler.
Kevin is just BAD from beginning to end – but he does have one interesting line. When his mother asks him, in prison, WHY he felt he had to murder his father, little sister and half the school population, he says,
“I used to think I knew. Now I’m not so sure.”
Which I took to mean, that he used to think he had a reason, and has now come to realise that he IS the reason.
Nobody believes me when I say that I see SOME similarities between Kev and Mr F when he was younger and stroppier. Mr F, too, would perform dastardly acts for no apparent reason other than to enrage his parents (none of them involving guinea pigs). Mr F also cried heartily and non-stop as a baby, and on occasion said some very MEAN things to his mum. There were times when I didn’t much like Mr F – though I always adored him. I guess I always knew that behind the aggressive, annoying, defiant little boy, there was someone of warmth and intelligence and even compassion.
Nobody meeting Mr F now could imagine a time when he was less than engaging and delightful. But what would it be like to be the parent of a child who was genuinely and deeply horrible? Do such children exist, without having to be moulded into evil by abusive parents? The legend is creepily attractive but in reality I just don’t believe in the naturally ‘Evil Child’.