The Darkest Minds

Based on yet another young-adult dystopian fantasy novel, this kiddie exploitation feature is shorter than any of the Hunger Games, Divergent, or Maze Runner movies but just as dour. It takes place after a strange illness kills more than 90 percent of the world’s children and turns the rest into super-powered mutants, whom the U.S. government locks up in concentration camps; the heroes are a group of kids who break out of confinement and search for a fabled children’s commune in Virginia. To say the film suggests a mix of hazy political allegory and Henry Darger’s outside-art classic The Story of the Vivian Girls is to make it sound more interesting than it really is. The filmmaking is flat and lifeless, the performances wooden, and the political metaphors clumsy. Chad Hodge adapted a book by Alexandra Bracken; Jennifer Yuh Nelson directed.