Offending Parties: The Bad Seed, Village of the Damned, The Exorcist, The Omen, Children of the Corn, Pet Sematary, The X-Files: "Chinga", Stir of Echoes, The Others, just about every recent horror movie from Japan
Whether they're lingering in the shadows, crawling down the stairs, or whispering ominous threats, nothing says "creepy" like a little kid. Except, wait! Little kids aren't creepy. At all. So why do they keep popping up like herpes sores in seemingly every movie I see?
Because of The Sixth Sense. Yes, like so many other things (twist endings, crop circles, Joaquin Phoenix's resumé), M. Night Shyamalan ruined the market for adult-themed horror films for the better part of a decade. Haley Joel Osment's bravura performance as Cole Sear overshadowed the permeating sense of dread that really made the film effective, and Sixth Sense's subsequent domination of the box office fooled Hollywood execs into thinking that they could make a mint off of any precocious tyke who could look moody and spout catch phrases. Alas, they were doomed to fail. With the exception of The Good Son and maybe Alice, Sweet Alice, the only two films that ever successfully pulled off the creepy kid dynamic were The Shining and The Orphanage. Why? Because in the former they were twins, and in the latter one of them was deformed. And twins and deformed people are just fucking creepy to begin with.