Godsend Movie Review

Watching Godsend compares to eating a gallon of fudge-filled chocolate ice cream minutes before going to bed. You know it's bad for you, but the experience is tons of fun. Soon enough, though, the gooey dessert stops tasting so good. By the time you near the bottom of the container, you can't even justify why you continue to swallow spoonfuls, but you keep eating despite the fact that it doesn't make sense to continue.

That also explains director Nick Hamm's jackhammer approach to his material. He knows he's working with a cheesy campfire story, the kind best whispered to terrified boy scouts in the dead of night. But he's sadly unaware of when enough is enough, and his final act becomes a series of ludicrous scientific explanations offset by cheap jolts to our nervous system.

Robert De Niro and Greg Kinnear should know better, but that doesn't stop them from playing a deranged gene therapy specialist and a grieving father, respectively. Following the death of their eight-year-old boy Adam (creepy Cameron Bright), biology teacher Paul (Kinnear) and his wife (Rebecca Romijn-Stamos) accept an offer from Dr. Richard Wells to produce a clone of their child using the late boy's DNA. The experiment is a success, even if the boy starts to show signs of psychological trouble when he reaches the age at which his previous incarnation bit the dust.

What can we say about Godsend? The acting is hammy, the story's riddled by credibility gaps, and the technical aspects are dreary. In other words, it's a perfect B-movie horror film, except that very little happens at a very slow pace. The PG-13 rating guarantees sugar-free scares. The science at play isn't weighty enough to fill a beaker. And Adam's visions occasionally tingle a spine, but can't scare the looks of boredom that hang over the cast's faces.

If anything, young Bright keeps us engaged. He's scary looking even before he's turned into a troubled clone. He's a cross between the kid in The Omen and Chucky from the Child's Play movies. His glassy stare might make the audience think he's sleepwalking through this role. Perhaps he picked up the technique watching De Niro on the set.

A clone, a clone, my kingdom for a clone.


Godsend Rating

" Grim "

Rating: PG-13, 2004


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