Bless the Child [2000]

Director: Chuck Russell
Stars: Kim Basinger, Jimmy Smits, Rufus Sewell, Holliston Coleman, Angela Bettis
Genre: Crime, Drama, Horror
Rating: R (Restricted)
Runtime: 107 minutes

When Maggie (Kim Basinger of L.A. Confidential and Batman) comes home to her apartment building one night, she discovers her estranged, drug-addict sister Jenna huddling in the doorway. Jenna promptly abandons her newborn baby with Maggie, who proceeds to raise the child as her own, despite evidence of autism. But as the little girl, Cody, gets older, what seemed to be autism starts to manifest itself in more startling ways. At the same time, a series of child murders are sweeping the city--murders conducted by a mysterious cult with supernatural matters on their mind. Bless the Child starts promisingly, with subdued, creepy scenes contrasted with more outrageous moments like swarms of computer-generated rats. Fans of religious horror movies will enjoy its twist on The Omen, with an angelic child instead of a demonic one--only the child is still pretty eerie. The special effects go a little overboard towards the end. Jimmy Smits (Price of Glory) costars as an FBI cult chaser, and Rufus Sewell (Dark City, Cold Comfort Farm) gives a pleasantly restrained performance as the charismatic cult leader. Also featuring Christina Ricci as a cult escapee and Ian Holm as a Jesuit priest. --Bret Fetzer

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