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Brian De Palma
Omens and concepts of good vs. evil have no place in Maggie O'Connor's well-ordered, practical universe. Her life revolves around her job as a nurse at a busy New York hospital, until one rainy night, her sister Jenna abandons her newborn, autistic daughter at her home. Maggie takes the baby in, and she becomes the daughter she never had. Six years later Jenna suddenly re-appears with a mysterious new husband, Eric, and abducts Cody. Despite the fact that Maggie has no legal rights to Cody, FBI agent John Travis, an expert in ritual homicide and occult-related crime, takes up her cause when he realizes that Cody shares the same birth date as several other recently missing children. The little girl, it soon becomes clear, is more than simply "special." She manifests extraordinary powers that the forces of evil have waited centuries to control, and her abduction sparks a clash between the soldiers of good and evil that can only be resolved, in the end, by the strength of one small child... Written by
For Maggie O'Connor a surprise visit from her sister meant much more than catching up on old times. Maggie's sister, being to strung out and confused to do anything more than act crazed, leaves Maggie with something she herself could not conceive, a beautiful baby girl. What Maggie and the rest of the world don't yet know but will find out, is that this baby girl is something even more special than they could ever possibly begin to imagine.
Bless the Child stars the beautiful Kim Bassinger as Maggie O'Connor, a single New York native whose world is completely changed when her long lost younger sister comes to pay her a surprise visit. Maggie's sister has also brought along her daughter Cody, who is seemingly just a beautiful baby girl. But confused and addicted to heroin, Maggie's sister leaves Cody in Maggie's protection. So for the next seven years Maggie raises Cody as her own daughter but finds out that this little girl isn't like most little girls. For instance she has the ability to make things move with her mind and has an unexplainable healing touch. But Maggie isn't the only person who knows that Cody is special, as a matter of fact there has been an underground occult group that have been looking for someone like Cody for the past seven years, believing her to be the savior or destruction of mankind. Eventually they find Cody, and coincidentally at the same time Cody's mother shows up again, clean and sober and married to a famous author and child enthusiast, Eric Stark (an always awesome Rufus Sewell), who isn't quite what he seems. Cody's mother and Stark want Cody back and they will stop at nothing, including kidnapping, to do so. But along to help Maggie get Cody back is special Agent Travis (Jimmy Smits), an expert in the occult field who has been tracking the people that have been looking for Cody for the past seven years. Together the two will travel through hell on earth to get this extraordinary child back.
I'll start off by saying at least this film was much better and had many more thrills than the almost simultaneously released Lost Souls. There are some solid performances by the leads, especially Bassinger, whose acting, much like her beauty, just seems to keep improving with age. Sewell was also notable in his genuinely creepy role as Stark, and has been near the top of my actors list since I first saw him in the astonishing Dark City. I have to give them and Smits kudos because even when the movie starts to drag at least they can be counted on to keep the film worth watching.
Director Chuck Russell makes a good attempt to throw in horror and chills at the right moments and even throws in some great effects such as the Devil's manifestation in to a throne and even a rolling head for fans of a little gore. Also worth mentioning are some genuinely touching scenes added in especially one in which Cody is in the hospital and gives a dying woman a hug and some very kind words. Russell is a good director who has a bright future ahead but he has to learn how to fill in the middle with as much substance as the beginning and end, because I must admit the movie does start to get a little repetitive. Screenplay writers Tom Rickman and Clifford and Ellen Green do a solid job of adapting Cathy Cash Spellman's interesting novel to the big screen. However the storyline is very evident as a cross between Rosemary's Baby and The Omen, which can plainly be seen as a slight lack of originality.
Bless the child is a well crafted horror film with some strong aspects and a great feel, but like so many movies adapted from books there is a little too much talk and not quite enough horror. I do, however, recommend this film because the good qualities do outweigh the bad, and it is one of the better horrors in recent release. Leaving it up to a choice though, you can either go out and watch Winona Ryder bore up Lost Souls, or you can sit back and enjoy beautiful Kim Bassinger Bless the Child.
Overall Rating: 6 out of 10
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