Horror doesn’t need to do much to make me happy. During my time here at Cinema Blend I’ve given positive reviews to just about any horror film that I could describe as “not sucking”. Unfortunately Godsend is not a movie I can apply those words to. It’s bad. Really bad, and quite frankly it represents everything wrong with horror today.
To give credit where it is due, Godsend doesn’t start off sucking. The first fourth of the movie works pretty well. The film is about Paul and Jessie Duncan, played ably by Rebecca Romijn and incompetently by Greg Kinear. They live an impossibly perfect life with their son, little eight year old Adam (get it, GET IT!!!), until the little tyke becomes road kill in a patented Hollywood freak accident. The parents are grief stricken until Robert DeNiro comes and tells them he can clone their son, or as he puts it “Use life to create life”. There are a few catches however, they only have a day before the project would become impossible, and if they do, they must cut all ties with their former life, move to the town of DeNiro’s clinic, and swear to only let DeNiro act as the child's doctor. They mull this over and decide, well what the hell? Personally, if Travis Bickle came to me and asked to do “things” to my dead child I’d run the hell away, but such are the movies.
As I said this bit’s not too bad. If Kinear can do anything it’s act numb, and Rebecca continues to do surprisingly good work in bad films. The premise is interesting, it has the potential to say something thought provoking about its controversial subject matter, and DeNiro himself has yet to channel his inner ham.
Anyway, everything goes swimmingly for the Duncans. They continue to live their impossibly idyllic life, apparently never worrying about the sin against nature who lives with them. That is until, Adam turns eight and begins to have poorly shot, un-atmospheric nightmares. DeNiro says they’re normal night terrors and everything is fine and then commands his puppets to dance....DANCE!!! Suddenly more strange things start happening around Adam and a schoolmate drowns, he begins to speak like David in AI suspicions begin to grow, and finally the Duncan’s begin to have some doubts about their “little thing that should not be” . Do you know what happens after that? The movie turns into an enormous pile of shit.
What proceeds to unfold can only be described as wretched. I’m talking Halloween Resurrection bad. Ball-less, style-less, graceless, insipid, one of the worse endings in many a moon, scare-less, stupid, and a twist that will only surprise you if you are also surprised that there is an invention that projects moving pictures.
Godsend feels stoned. It’s slow sluggish, and unfocused. It doesn’t know whether it wants to scare you or eat some Moose Tracks and listen to String Cheese Incident. Reportedly five different endings were shot and an incalculable number of rewrites where visited upon the film, and brother trust me on this one, it shows. The film never commits itself to its scares, its characters, its plot, its theme, the moral question of cloning, and as a result neither do we.
So what’s good? Rebecca Rojimn needs to get a new agent and quickly, she really is a good actress and needs to stop being the best thing in bad movies. Robert DeNiro is always fun to watch but be warned he is in full ACTING mode here. Some of the imagery is also pretty cool, until you realize that much of it has been stolen wholesale from The Sixth Sense.
Nick Hamm, the director, previously made an extremely creepy film called The Hole, which featured the extremely perky breasts of a pre-fame Keira Knightly. I’ll stop to savor the sound of a thousand movie geeks sprinting to their video stores ......... now. That was a horror film, who knows what this is.