Bless the Child (2000) / Horror-Thriller
MPAA Rated: R for violence, drug content and brief language
Running Time: 107 min.
Cast: Kim Basinger, Jimmy Smits, Rufus Sewell, Holliston Coleman, Ian Holm
Director: Chuck Russell
Screenplay: Tom Clifford, Clifford Green, Ellen Green (based on the novel by Cathy Cash Spellman)
Review published August 13, 2000
This stench-fest should definitely have been rated P.U. for stinking up the most theaters around the country. The only consolation to seeing this movie is that you may not have to pay for parking in the lot because you probably will leave the theater long before the ending (I stomached as much as I could and still couldn't watch the last 20 minutes.)
This inexcusable heap of fecal matter posing as a film is based on the Cathy Cash Spellman novel, and Lord knows why anyone saw anything in it that would deem it worthy of big screen entertainment. Adapted by Tom Rickman, who hasn't written a major motion picture screenplay sine 1978 (Hooper), and if this is any indication of his talents of late, everyone should hide their typewriters if Rickman's coming over to keep him from the chance of writing again.
The ludicrous plot involves a junkie mother dumping her one week old daughter on her sister Maggie (Basinger, LA Confidential). Maggie raises the girl, Cody (Coleman, Dinner with Friends), until she is six years old, but something is strange about Cody's behavior and is diagnosed with autism. Cody, in fact, turns out to be quite gifted beyond human comprehension, and a large cult of Satanists is kidnapping and killing young children around the city who share Cody's birthdate in hopes they will catch the "chosen one" to use for their own evil purposes.
About the only good that can be said about this worthless waste of time and money is that it sports some decent actors. Whatever would possess Basinger, Ian Holm (A Life Less Ordinary), Christina Ricci (Sleepy Hollow) and the rest to a screenplay so devoid of original ideas is stupefying. The film rips off so many other films, there isn't a genuinely interesting moment to be found, and the fact that the plot most resembles The Golden Child means the makers have been dipping into the wrong bag for ideas.
However, unoriginality isn't the real reason Bless the Child is so unfathomably awful as to be the worst major release of 2000. What makes it impossible to enjoy is the sheer repulsiveness...ugliness...sickness of the goings on. During the film we are treated to "entertainment" such as seeing children abducted and killed, being forced to view attempted murders and torture, and other vehemently reprehensible acts. In fact, Bless the Child seems to enjoy showing depictions of evil so much, one wonders why the producers enjoy wallowing in excessive scenes of hideous malevolence in a film that is supposed to be so God-affirming.
All I have to tell you...well, I actually IMPLORE you...is that you avoid viewing this disease-ridden fiasco at all costs. Bless the Child is such a nauseating experience, it may actually be the future movie of choice at vomitoriums. If there is any justice in this world, the makers of this crap should suffer eternal damnation by watching their creation over and over for the remainder of their existence and beyond. (Did I mention it's bad?)
©2000 Vince Leo