It’s a good thing that movie producers have decided to cut back on the number of slasher-type horror films they release. In the ’80s, every other film was about a serial killer like Michael Myers from the “Halloween” saga that wore a masks from a costume collection and would go around killing horny teenagers at summer camps.
Fortunately, nowadays horror films have decided to focus more on stories that have to do with surreal or abnormal experiences like in “The Cell,” or about how the carelessness of mankind could lead to dire consequences like in “28 Days Later.” But like in all film genres there will always be those that add a huge stain to their reputations.
Such is the case with the new suspense-horror film, “Godsend.”
“Godsend,” from Nick Hamm, a rather unknown director, is a film about cloning and, despite all the current news about cloning, this film offers no actual insight into the consequences of the practice. It’s just another film with a good premise but a bad script.
The film begins with a happily married couple, played by Greg Kinnear and Rebecca Romeijn-Stamos, who one day lose their son after he was hit by a car. . Then one day, a doctor, played by Robert De Niro, who has heard about the couple, gives them the opportunity to have their child back.
De Niro wants to use the cells of the dead child to create an identical fetus and implant into the mother.
Up to this point “Godsend” is a good drama that seems like it will have a happy outcome for the married couple. I think after this point someone hit the “auto-pilot” switch which turns “Godsend” into a a really clichéd “been there, done that” horror film.
When the cloned boy turns 8-years-old, (the age at which the previous son died) he begins to see things and hear things from somewhere else. This movie is no longer about cloning; it turns into an intolerable horror film to watch.
Even in its attempt to be a horror film, “Godsend” is not even remotely scary. It doesn’t even try to be original. Instead of trying to create a new style of scaring audiences, “Godsend” relies on the old “ghosts of little kids jump out of nowhere” trick.
Also, if there is only one thing that has been severely overdone in films it is the misuse of little kids in horror films. Once again, little kids seeing ghosts, or saying, “they’re coming” or “something bad is going to happen” has been done an immense amount of times. The only time this worked was with Linda Blair in “The Exorcist” because it was an original idea at the time.
The story is also such a mess because many questions such as why the cloned child turns evil. Towards the end the film seems to kind of give up on itself. The climax makes absolutely no sense and does not give a finished feel to the movie or a feeling that anything was absolved.
There really was no way this story could have been saved. The only thing that could have been saved were the reputations of big-time stars Kinnear, Stamos and De Niro. De Niro for crying out loud! This guy was in “The Godfather Part Two” and “Raging Bull.” The year of job offers must have been really, really bad for De Niro lately for him to agree to take this part. Further, he does not even make a good doctor. De Niro will always be remembered for playing really tough guys with attitudes, not some old, lab-coat-wearing pansy.
It seems like nowadays writers and directors are either doing a bad job on purpose, or turning in lackluster scripts just for the ridiculously high paychecks. “Godsend” is a clear example of both.
*1/2 (Out of four.)