6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 18 October 2001
The acting here is for the most part reasonably good. Besinger does seem a bit to sedate in many scenes but during the times she is supposed to exhibit maternal concern she rises to the occasion. Smitts is of course believable as the FBI agent that was a seminary student since most of us are predisposed to acceptance from his role in TV's NYPD Blue. There was not enough of his character shown in the film. The story would have been better with more expository information concerning Travis. Bettis as the junkie was well played. She manages to balance sympathy of her character and revolution for her self-destructive behavior as a junkie. The real star in this film is young Ms Coleman. She can convey more emotion with a glance than most adult actors can with a well-written script. She is a natural and I look forward to watching her grow in her craft. This is a difficult thing to accomplish after the success of Haley Joel Osment in the Sixth Sense. Sewell seems to be there just to fill the role. He was far better in something like Dark City as the victim rather than the cult lead here. He has the talent and the potential but did little to explore it here. Christina Ricci is shown in the trailers in a way that she appears to be a major character. She has a bit part that is expository in nature but all too short.
The director for this film was Chuck Russell. His previous films included the 1988 remake of the Blob, The Mask and Nightmare on Elm Street 3. This is perhaps the first time he has had to really present the psychological aspects of the characters to this degree. He has a good eye for framing a scene. There is a sense of balance in his use of camera placement and lighting. The set design captures the feel of New York, something I appreciate as a resident of this city for all my life. He uses the city as a backdrop that demonstrates the conflict of hope and despair central to the story.
This is a fun movie about a special child, in appearance autistic but in fact gifted in uniquely special ways. Her aunt, Kim Bassinger, accepts responsibility for her and, only later, encounters a secretive organization that wants to control the child for its own ends. With a good cop, Smits, she rises to the occasion, in the process reexamining her life and faith.
The strongest point of the film is the acting. Bassinger is not a sex symbol, but a normal woman who is desperate to save a loved one. Her sister is movingly portrayed as a troubled addict, while the evil protagonist is truly frightening. Smits is also excellent as a priest turned cop, having found "another way to serve him." The chemistry of these characters works extremely well. The child is also eminently believable.
In addition, though dated the special effects are quite evocative, esp. at the end. I don't want to give away the plot: suffice it to say that even though I am a non-believer, I was moved, at times terrified, always interested. The atmospherics of the film are especially powerful.
On the weaker side, the plot was a bit far-fetched, full of chance encounters and desperate moves that didn't quite ring true to me.
on 22 November 2015
This 2000 supernatural suspense chiller follows Maggie O'Connor (Kim Basinger) whose sister turns up after two years and abandons her newborn autistic daughter, Cody, at her home. Six years later and the child is showing some strange abilities amidst the reign of a serial killer who’s targeting six year olds.
Not the most original plot, being similar to ‘The Omen’ and many other films of its type, but it is good as Maggie tries to understand events going on around her. This is more a suspense thriller as the child becomes a target of ‘evil doers’ and at first you don’t know who can be trusted and what the girl is really up to.
The single disc features play, scene selection, special features [Interviews, trailer, commentary and Tv spots] and subtitles [English on, hard of hearing on or subtitles off]. Will probably not suit gore’ horror fans as it’s mainly psychological as you try to figure it out at the start and then it plays on the emotions in the second half. A good late night chiller worthy of a ***** entertainment value.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 28 September 2003
Not too disimiliar to the Omen, where it was evil against good in the shape of Damien Thorne the antichrist, Bless The Child, sees the child being Cody a special child, the second coming representing all things good, against the evil, which is off course Satan.
The film opens with ordinary, practical, Maggie O' Connor played superbly by Kim Basinger, when she is visited by her wayward sister Jenna (Angela Bettis). Maggie soon finds out that with her Jenna has brought two shocking revelations. The first being nine day old Cody, the second more horrifying is that her younger sister is a drug addict. Jenna is quick to leave, leaving baby Cody with her older sister.
Six years later, after finding out the child is special and far from being autistic she is placed in a special catholic school. Maggie plays the doting mother and treats the child as her own, that is, until her real mother returns and wants her child back. Only this time she has with her Eric Stark (Rufus Sewell) who plays a charming, yet manipulative step-father. However there is more than meets the eye with this man who is the face behind the popular New Age popular cult.
The police meanwhile have their hands filled with a spate of child abductions and it seems like the cult is behind it. Especially when all the children are aged six and born on the same date. An FBI specialist in occult-related crimes is called in and together he and Maggie face a battle against time to stop Stark and his followers, the time being Easter Eve to save Cody's life.
Maggie first meets the FBI agent when one of the cult members turns up in hospital where Maggie works and she finds out where her sister is. She arranges to meet her and is given Stark's address. However Stark has sent his cohorts after her and she is hunted down and slaughtered. The police think at first Maggie is mad, especially when the girls body is not found. But the FBI agent knows better and knows exactly who Stark is and what he represents, unfortunately the police are powerless to touch him as Stark is fully protected from all sides.
Following the words of the bible, when the the three wise men sought out Herod to find the new child, the new king. Herod sets out to kill all the new baby boys born on that day. 'Slaughter of the Innocents' as it was written, Stark's cult reinacts the same ritual to find the 'second coming' child sent from God to either turn her over to Satan or to kill her.
Stark stops at nothing to turn Cody to his master, Satan. And Maggie is up against the forces of evil, but finds unexpected help in 'guardian angels' who are on hand throughout the film. As well as the catholic nuns who realise the girl has special powers and who she is, and know exactly what danger she is in. But will the power of prayer help both Maggie and Cody?
As the film climaxes the power of evil seems to have won again, the odds are heavily stacked against the power of good, but even something as powerful and mighty as evil is not indestructable.
The film also reminded me of the Golden Child, where Charles Dance played Satan and tried to turn the child of good into evil and Eddie Murphy placed the unlikely child's protector.
If you like this sort of film, then I strongly recommend you watch it. The enjoyable bits for me was the guardian angels popping up along the way to help Maggie when she needed it most. Including a breath-taking scene when Stark first tries to kill her. Which begs the question are there really guardian angels around us? Protecting us, watching over us? No one knows.
Only Kim Basinger is known to me from the cast list of the film, however the other actors fitted in well and Rufus Sewell plays Stark with finesse and truly realistically as the suave, mysterious man who suddenly turns up in Jenna's life.
It also represents the true light and horrific dangers cults have on the weak and the innocent. Even in todays society there are cults, some maybe dormant, but cults however you describe them represent only one word 'evil' and do NOT belong in society.
It isn't hard to realise that this film was an Academy Award Winning film back in 1997. The film also stars Christina Ricci and Ian Holm.
The film lasts 103 mins and rated certificate 15
The horror scenes are minimal and this is more a thriller than a horror, although it does help to have someone to snuggle up to on the sofa!
The DVD's special features: Commentary by Chuck Russell (Director) and Joel Hynek (Visual Effects Supervisor), Interviews, TV spots, Interactive Menus, Scene Access and Trailer
Remember evil is all around us in all shapes and sizes, but don't have nightmares....