Blessed (2004)

You know a film's distributor are desperate when the video / DVD jacket copy quotes a poster on the IMDb - especially since, suspiciously, it turns out to be the only positive reaction among many negative views. It's apt that Blessed turns out to be about cloning since it's a blatant attempt to replicate Rosemary's Baby; its shooting title was the even more obvious Samantha's Child. Samantha (Heather Graham), the wife of New York ad man / would-be novelist Craig (James Purefoy), has had trouble conceiving a baby but all the couple's problems are solved when they rent a home in a small community where they are treated at a fertility clinic (Samantha becomes pregnant with twins) and the writer is introduced to evil-eyebrowed magnate Earl Sydney (David Hemmings) who owns the clinic and has huge publishing interests. While Samantha swells and feels she is being stalked by a hooded figure who turns out to be a split-personality monk (Andy Serkis), Craig is lured into the successful world of Earl. It turns out that Sydney has preserved a phial of the blood of Lucifer, which he is using in cloning experiments. The monk, a rare Catholic fanatic willing to advocate both abortion and suicide, tries to prevent the birth, but Samantha survives and goes through a traumatic birth that threatens to shift into It's Alive territory (but doesn't). A coda shows that the couple's apparently angelic twins have Omen-style death-causing powers, but not very interesting ones. Graham, slipping off the A-list, struggles to bring life to leftovers, but everyone else just plods and creeps through it. Despite some New York stock shots, this was mostly made in Romania, explaining the preponderance of European cast members. Directed by Simon Fellows.
KIM NEWMAN

First published in this form here.


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