The only thing you'll scream for is your money back
Mark Laflamme | Maine | 11/04/2006
(2 out of 5 stars)
"After eagerly anticipating this remake for months, and after a close viewing with careful attention to each plot turn, the only question I was left with was: what?
The Godsend is like a professional baseball player in a little league batting cage. There should be no way to miss. But this clunker misses over and over in spite of its many opportunities to achieve.
It has De Niro. It has an unsettling story line and a good novel as its basis. A dead child, a secluded location, bad dreams and weird science. How can you go wrong with all that?
Somehow, it goes wrong and horribly so. This film falls flat from the beginning regardless of those delicious ingredients. The story itself is muddy and new layers are added regularly without finesse. Tired cliches don't result in the chills they so obviously were meant to inspire. The child, clearly meant to provide spookiness through the mystery of his birth, is far from spooky. You cannot simply paste a blank expression on a boy of eight and expect an audience to recoil. You cannot simply set a scene in a shadowy, sprawling house and expect that atmosphere to carry that scene to the audience.
The Godsend had promise but failed to deliver. If you read the novel and liked it, if you're dying to see a film version, you're better of going back in time. While the 1980 version of the Godsend was not an outright screamer, by the standards of the 2004 adaptation, it's masterful."
Do yourself a favor and watch The Omen instead
L. Bravim | 02/20/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Godsend is unique in that is a horror movie with a good cast. Gref Kinnear and Rebecca Romijn play a couple who loses their only son in unexpected tragedy. Just when the funeral ends, out comes Robert de Niro, as doctor/researcher, to save the day. He promises the emotially vulnerable parents he can bring back their son, though the word cloning is never mentioned.
After some hesitation on Greg Kinnear's part, the grieving parents opt to go with the good doctor's advice and try to bring back their little boy. They should have known it was a bad idea as soon as Dr. DeNiro promised them free treatment, a house and job 300 miles from where they live. The educated couple miss all the red flags and go along with what will surely be a human genetic engineering story gone terribly wrong.
At first, everything seems perfect. The baby born to them looks exactly like their son, and they even give him the same name, Adam. Adam was the first man on earth and he is also the first evil clone. Things go awry when Adam passes his eighth birthday and lives longer than his original self. He becomes distant, does not always respond to his name and starts bullying kids at school. The radical change in behavior alarms the parents, but not nearly enough until it is almost too late. If you've seen The Omen or read some of Robin Cook's medical thrillers, you can predict the ending of Godsend a good hour before it happens. The ending is muddled, disappointing and enough to ruin a moderately entertaining thriller.
Had I been watching this in theaters, there is no doubt more than one would have asked for a refund. DeNiro, Kinnear and even Rebecca Romijn have all done much better films."
A maybe too tame approach to what could have been nightmaris
Andrew Ellington | I'm kind of everywhere | 09/25/2007
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Okay, so I have many a bone to pick with this movie. First of all, the theatrical trailer made one believe they were in for a very scary good time. This is false advertisement in my opinion. The movie is not scary. Second of all, it sports a cast that includes quite frankly the best actor to ever walk this Earth, at least he was when he was in his prime, and so to have Robert DeNiro dumb himself down so much for a role is just irritating to me. Third, it opens with promise and even ends with promise but somewhere in the middle it loses all sense of surroundings and just goes stupid on us. The plot is one that with a little tweaking could have been stellar. I say stellar and I mean that in total B-movie horror takes of the word. This could have become a grade-A B-movie if that makes any sense, but instead it became a C-grade C-movie and that's a shame, a real shame.
The film revolves around the Duncan family, Paul, Jessie and their son Adam. You can tell right off the bat that this family is very close-knit. They love each other more than anything else and would do anything for each other. Especially evident is the love between Jessie and Adam.
Something tragic must happen though and this comes in the form of a hit-and-run. While out shopping with his mother for tennis shoes young Adam wonders outside to bounce his basketball (the one his father bought him for his birthday) when he's struck by an oncoming car and killed. The Duncan family falls apart after his death and they begin to digress within themselves until they meet Doctor Richard Wells who offers to give them their son back through cloning. This is of course absurd, and quite frankly illegal. The Duncan's would have to move away from their family and friends and cut off all ties if they were to concede with the procedure. After giving it careful thought and consideration (sure) they decide to go ahead with the cloning and nine months later Jessie gives birth to her son all over again. Life is good until Adam turns eight (the age in which he originally died) and then things take a turn for the worse. His behavior changes and he begins to suffer from night terrors that may or may not have significance.
This conclusion is one that, albeit a bit on the predictable side, actually does the film some good. We wonder throughout the film just what Richard's hidden agenda could be (because you just know he has one) and when it's revealed it's not as horrid as it could have been. What is horrid though is the acting here, especially on the part of Romijn and Kinnear. I'm a fan of Kinnear's but films like this do nothing for him. DeNiro just can't seem to catch a break lately. He's one of our finest actors ever to work a day in this business but he keeps selecting the worst possible films for himself. This could be the worst. The one shining light here though is Cameron Bright, who plays Adam. He is one creepy kid, and he's used that to his advantage in his film choices (watch him in `Butterfly Effect' or in `Birth' to get a better understanding). Here he's a little wasted since he really isn't given the opportunity to really scare us, at least not for a lasting period of time.
That brings me to my biggest reservation with this film. It's really not scary, at all. With the material they had the opportunity to real nail this and make it just horrifically unsettling, but instead they took a very tame approach (maybe in an effort to get the PG-13 rating) and in my opinion ruined what they had going. When you see that of the five endings shot for this film they chose the tamest one you realize that they just didn't know what they were doing. I can easily think of a few ways they could have saved this film from mediocrity, in the final few frames alone (come on, boy in a shed, hatchet in his hand, mother in front of him...does anyone really have to survive in this film?) but alas, everything has to have a happy ending these days, well, sort of.
So, `Godsend' could have been a much better film but quite frankly it's not, which is sad, because I really wanted it to be."