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Bless The Child (2000)

DVD Cover (Paramount)
Director:
Chuck Russell Chuck Russell
Starring:
Kim Basinger Kim Basinger
Jimmy Smits Jimmy Smits
Holliston Coleman Holliston Coleman
Rufus Sewell Rufus Sewell
Angela Bettis Angela Bettis

5.6 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Genres: Horror, Psychological Thriller, Religious Horror, Supernatural Horror, Thriller
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Review by Crispy
Added: December 23, 2007
And so, in the same realm as The Omen and Rosemary's Baby, we have yet another Divine Child/Satanica flick. However, there's a bit of fresh air in this one, as our Divine Child is actually from Heaven's domain this go around. Now, this movie is based on the novel by Cathy Cash Spellman which I haven't read, but the movie proved to be an entertaining hundred minutes in front of the tube.

Maggie O'Connor is a single nurse with a rather simple life; however, this quickly changes the night she finds her sister, Jenna, at her doorstep after work. Jenna disappeared completely a few years ago, but her sudden reappearance is not the only surprise; she has brought a baby (with no idea which guy is the father) and a heroin addiction with her. After Maggie calms her down, she starts tending to her niece, Cody, which is all the time Jenna needs to steal some cash out of her sister's purse and bolt out of the door, leaving her child behind. Now, Maggie has tried a few times to have a child, but she has had chronic miscarriages, so she was more than happy to take the baby into her own care. Fast forward six years, and we now find Cody is living in a Catholic school due to her autism, and she has also picked up a few nifty little parlor tricks. Things like spinning plates with her mind and bringing a dead birds back to life. Obviously, there's something special about the girl, and children with powers like that seldom live uneventful lives. The sudden change comes from her mother suddenly showing up with her new husband, Eric Stark. Eric runs a drug rehab program, which is how he met Jenna, but it's actually a front for a Satanic cult, who has already killed five children trying to find Cody. They successfully kidnap Cody, but Maggie fortunately still has a few friendly faces to turn to; including the ex-clergy FBI agent who has spent his career hunting Stark's cult, the local convent, a strung-out ex-member of said cult, and a small group of celestial bystanders who lend a hand when needed. Now, this list of allies sounds extremely cheesy I know, but I promise it's not as bad as it sounds on paper.

I'm sure you've already picked up on this, but our plot here isn't exactly original. These kinds of movies have been done more than once, so if originality is a must, you probably won't find anything here. On the other hand, if you don't have any problems with judging the movie solely on its own offering, it's not a bad viewing by any means. The story moves along a good pace, and it finds a happy medium between "nobody has a fucking clue what's going on" and "the audience is braindead so we're gonna explain every detail." Most of these movies go for that "nothing makes sense until the last five minutes" approach, and to be honest, I'm kind of glad they took the more accessible route. They recognized that Bless the Child was not going to be the 'epic' classic some of its predecessors have been, and instead focused on making a movie that's easy to enjoy. It's a nice change of pace having a movie in the genre where you can bullshit with friends while it's on and still keep up, instead of having to pick up every minute detail to understand the grand revelation at the end.

I also liked the way the supernatural aspects of the film were handled. It follows the tried and true example of starting off with things being a little weird and slowly building up the phenomena, until by the end of things we got gargoyles appearing out of the mist to guard the door. However, they still kept themselves in check. During the grand finale we didn't have any shenanigans like angels and demons locked in hand to claw combat, or finding out that Maggie was dead the whole time.

Rounding out our cast is Kim Basinger, Holliston Coleman, Angela Bettis, Jimmy Smits, and Rufus Sewell. Plus, we got some minor roles from Lumi Cavazos and Christina Ricci thrown in there to boot. This ensemble ranges from mediocre to slightly above average, but fortunately nobody's performance was bad enough to completely ruin the movie. Kim Basinger was relatively on top of things as Maggie. However, it looked like it was more apathy than anything else keeping her from giving a better show. Our other leading lady, young Cody, was handled by Coleman. Like most child actors, she left a lot to be desired, although the autism aspect of the character blanketed most of that rather nicely. Smits just kind of transferred his role from NYPD Blue over to this movie, so take that as you will. Bettis and Sewell, Jenna and Eric respectively, are definitely our weakest links. Fortunately, neither had much screen time, but since Eric was such an important character, Sewell's lackluster performance held a lot more weight. Honestly, I think the strongest performances actually came from Cavazos and Ricci.

So yeah, if you want another helping of the kids and their satanic friends genre, or just a movie to enjoy while hanging out with some buddies, this one will suit you well. However, if you feel that a fully original plot is a must to enjoy a film, go ahead and knock off a solid three or four points. For me, I think I'll go with a 7/10.
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Cryptorchild #1: Cryptorchild - added 12/24/2007, 08:47 PM
I loved this movie to death. Rufus Sewell is so creepy and I thought he was awesome. I know this genre has been done before and also done better but I enjoyed this movie from start to finish. And it was a shame that Christina Ricci got her head cut off.
Lucid Dreams #2: Lucid Dreams - added 07/17/2010, 02:47 AM
Good job on telling people what happens in the movie. This was ok, but there were so many boring parts in here and I fell asleep a few times. 5/10
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