Saturday, June 18, 2011

Worst of the Worst: #57, Godsend

Godsend is a horror movie that isn't scary, but that's true of a lot of movies that are bad, but not bad enough to be on this list (for instance, Saw). Visually, it's not bad. The acting isn't too bad, either. There's a kid actor in the main role who's so-so, but Greg Kinnear is always at least solid, Robert De Niro hasn't been in a good movie in a while but is never really bad, and even Rebecca Romijn-Stamos is fine and only slightly bad when she has to do any emotional scenes. The script itself is pretty lame, with too much exposition at points to move the poorly-paced story along. There are a good number of continuity errors, including a newspaper at the end that has a misspelling in the headline. But, yeah, for the most part the movie is merely less-than-average. What kills me is the plot.

Kinnear and Romijn-Stamos play the loving parents of a loving son (all set up lovingly in the opening scenes), but the son is killed in a horrible (read: too contrived) accident. After the funeral, they are approached by De Niro, who is a brilliant genetic scientist (and somehow Romijn-Stamos' freshman professor, even though she's a photographer). He has a way of cloning the boy and the parents agree to try it out. De Niro goes into this long explanation of the process, meant to confuse us into not thinking about it critically, and then the mother is impregnated when a pre-stem cell (?) is injected into an egg and then delivers the child after nine months. Everything is the same for the first eight years of the kid's life. Anyone who's read The Boys from Brazil knows that this is ridiculous. The original boy had died on the day after his eighth birthday and, sure enough, on the day after his eighth birthday, the new kid starts seeing visions of a dead child and turns evil. He gets all creepy and murder-y, showing up at weird times in dark rooms to shock his parents and then killing the school bully (a murder that the local police decide not to investigate, apparently). Then, there is a twist that is so implausible and so impossible scientifically in any sense of real life that I couldn't totally understand why or how said twist came to be. They probably just didn't explain it because the actors would have had too hard a time not laughing. Anyways, the kid is somehow possessed genetically (I think) and everyone's running around doing nothing to stop him, other than running into dark rooms that he scares them in. Kinnear gets hit by a blunt object hard enough to pass out in a burning room, but somehow shows up minutes later, just in time to stop an axe from chopping someone up. Finally, nothing happens at the end to resolve anything and everyone is essentially in the same place they were right before the climax.

The end.

Well, one of the ends. They had such a hard time wrapping up such a ridiculous plot that they actually shot five different endings. The other four are available on the DVD and I watched them, including the first with commentary from the writer and director. Sure enough, the director actually admits that none of the endings really worked, so they just went with the one that is least black and white because they couldn't figure out how to appropriately resolve the characters. At least the guy was honest.

I'm not sure that Godsend really belongs on this list, because it's just not poorly-made to the level of some of these other movies. But, on the list it is, making it the ninety-fourth that I've watched. Six left.

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