HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Lu Over the Wall
She's Funny That Way
Vox Lux
Aftermath, The
Five Fingers for Marseilles
Jupiter's Moon
Favourite, The
Mysteries of the Gods
Coming Home
De Sade
Patti Cake$
Hellbound
Final Destination 2
Romance
Bros: After the Screaming Stops
Cockleshell Heroes, The
Mule, The
Sunday in the Country
Nutcracker Fantasy
Spellcaster
Hipsters
Executive Action
Captain Marvel
Zombie Girl
Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Rhinoceros
Monkey King 3, The
Adventurers, The
Stripped to Kill
Daughter of Dr. Jekyll
Aladdin's Magic Lamp
Christopher Robin
Hole in the Ground, The
Daniel
Blue Christmas
Death Trip
She's Missing
Return of the Soldier
Shaft
Summer Lovers
   
 
Newest Articles
The Hole in the Ground: Director Lee Cronin Interview
She's Missing: Director Alexandra McGuinness Interview
Woo's the Boss: Last Hurrah for Chivalry & Hand of Death on Blu-ray
Get Ahead in Showbiz: Expresso Bongo and It's All Happening
Outer Space and Outta Sight: Gonks Go Beat on Blu-ray
Tucked: The Derren Nesbitt Interview
Locomotion Pictures: The Best of British Transport Films on Blu-ray
Roman Scandals: Extreme Visions from Ancient Rome
Spider-Wrong and Spider-Right: The Dragon's Challenge and Into the Spider-Verse
Monster Dog: Cujo on Blu-ray
For Christ's Sake: Jesus Christ Superstar and The Last Temptation of Christ
Not In Front of the Children: Inappropriate Kids Movies
Deeper into Ozploitation: Next of Kin and Fair Game
Between the Wars: Babylon Berlin Series 1&2 on DVD
Hard Luck Story: Detour on Blu-ray
   
 
  Bless the Child She's not the messiah, she's a very naughty girlBuy this film here.
Year: 2000
Director: Chuck Russell
Stars: Kim Basinger, Jimmy Smits, Holliston Coleman, Rufus Sewell, Angela Bettis, Christina Ricci, Michael Gaston, Lumi Cavazos, Dimitra Arliss, Eugene Lipinski, Anne Betancourt, Ian Holm, Helen Stenborg
Genre: Horror, Drama
Rating:  4 (from 1 vote)
Review: On a night when the Star of Yacov shines in the sky over New York, reappearing for the first time since Bethlehem two-thousand years ago, drug addict Jenna (Angela Bettis) dumps her newly-born infant on big sister Maggie (Kim Basinger) and disappears. Having always longed for a child, Maggie raises the baby girl as her own. Six years later, the supposedly autistic, young Cody (Holliston Coleman) hears voices in her head and, whilst attending a Catholic-run special school, displays other unorthodox talents when she makes candles burn and brings a dead bird back to life.

Meanwhile, a sinister cult are kidnapping and murdering children off the streets and seminary student-turned F.B.I. Agent John Travis (Jimmy Smits) is assigned to the case. When Jenna reappears with her new husband, charismatic cult leader Eric Stark (Rufus Sewell) and takes Cody into their custody, Maggie and Agent Travis are drawn into an apocalyptic conflict between good and evil. Humanity’s fate rests with one special child.

Devil movies and the whole Antichrist genre made a comeback around the turn of the millennium, with the likes of Stigmata (1999), Lost Souls (2000) and End of Days (1999) struggling to out-spook each other with doomsday prophecies and satanic goings on. Adapted from a novel by Cathy Cash Spellman, Bless the Child offers an initially promising flipside to The Omen (1976). Instead of the son of Satan, we have a young female messiah and whereas The Omen series is somewhat theologically one-sided, this at least tries to work up some metaphysical discourse on the nature of good and evil. Sadly, the film is slow-paced and self-important, while director Chuck Russell fails to propel the action with enough pulp horror verve.

The film has essentially two plot strands. The first is a TV movie-of-the-week dressed up with supernatural frills. Basinger delivers an overly solemn performance as the single mother trying to take back her stolen child. The second, more interesting strand reworks Satan’s testing of Christ in the wilderness, proceeding as a series of trials that prepares Cody to become the new messiah. Avoiding outright cruelty, since a corrupted messiah is more valuable than a dead one, Stark challenges Cody’s faith by seeing whether God can prevent a homeless man committing suicide, or making her jump from a ledge. There are interesting questions posed, but the script opts for easy answers and one wishes Hammer made this film twenty years ago, which might have delivered the biblically-inclined morality with more conviction and poetry.

Still, it’s nice to see a level playing field. While The Omen films are skewed towards having Christians thrown to the lions (or rather sliced, diced and decapitated), this has the requisite gory killings and satanic minions including some silly teenage Goths, CG demons and a devil nanny (another nod to The Omen) with lethal knitting needles, but also angelic helpers aiding Maggie and Travis along the way. Ian Holm cameos as a renegade priest who observes the concept of evil has become politically incorrect, but Christina Ricci is shamefully wasted as a former cultist-turned-informer who exists solely to provide what you might call “the big David Warner” moment.

Action-wise, the film picks up later on with a chase through the subway capped with a decapitation gag, and a steal from North By Northwest (1959) when a drugged Maggie awakens driving down the wrong lane on a busy freeway. It builds to a cool, monster-laden finale where nuns’ prayers combat slimy demons, a ritual sacrifice turns into a Waco-inspired siege and hosts of angels flock to Cody’s side. Although the script wastes the amusing idea of Stark being a former child star-turned-New Age self-help guru, the depiction of his New Dawn organisation (complete with sterile, user-friendly headquarters staffed chirpy, glassy-eyed believers and pamphlets offering catchy slogans) caused some offence to Scientologists.

Click here for the trailer


Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 2292 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Chuck Russell  (1954 - )

American genre director who worked for Roger Corman before making his own movies, first as writer of Dreamscape, then helming Nightmare on Elm Street 3 and The Blob remake. Jim Carrey vehicle The Mask was a blockbuster, and he followed it with less impressive Eraser and The Scorpion King, then a string of lower budget, lower profile efforts.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Andrew Pragasam
Graeme Clark
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
  Derrick Smith
Darren Jones
   

 

Last Updated: