Previously published in Ciao
Bless The Child, or will she bless you.
Bless The Child (2000)
Genre: Religious Horror, suspense
Director Chuck Russell
Kim – Bassenger – Maggie O’Connor
Angela Bettis – Jenna
Rufus Sewell – Eric Stark
Holliston Coleman – Cody
Jimmy Smits – FBI agent John Travis
Bless the child is a religious horror movie portraying the classic fight for Good overcoming Evil. The entire movie is laden with bible quotes and scenes.
Plot: Maggie O’Connor is a divorcee who is a nurse in a New York city Hospital. She lives alone and if she has a social life it is not apparent in the movie. Suddenly as if out of nowhere her sister comes to visit with a newborn baby, only 9 days old. Jenna, the sister is a drug addict and incapable of raising a child on her own. She leaves her Maggie to raise the little girl. For Maggie this is a dream come true because she is unable to conceive.
As beautiful as little Cody is, she is also very different. She is autistic, but more than that she seems to have a special gift. She has a special touch that can breathe life back into a dead bird, save an old man from setting fire to himself and although inferred but not directly indicated, she cures a young girl from cancer.
Maggie is aware she is special but is not aware of the extent of her gift until some strange happenings begin to occur around the city. Young six year olds are showing up dead. Cody herself is six years old.
FBI agent John Travis is on the scene and has figured out that it is some kind of cult killing the children. Through his investigation he discovered that the ringleader is looking for a child of six years old born on a certain day, I think it was December 16th if I remember correctly.
The cult members seek out six years not knowing exactly who they are looking for but they know that this child is a child of god and can already to special things. To determine who the child is, they do some tests on the child and when the child fails they kill the youngster.
Meanwhile a young man make news helping youths who have gone astray by running an organization called new dawn. It is here that a young girl has been brought to the hospital who was once part of that group and tried to get away. They try to kill her but did not succeed. She is seen by Maggie at the hospital and warns her to protect young Cody for she is the one they are looking for. The girl obviously knows of Cody and knows of the whereabouts of Jenna. Maggie is desperate for answers but the young girl finally meets her demise in a chase scene in the subway. Maggie was with her and suffered a concussion but she is otherwise okay.
As if Maggie did not already know Cody was in danger of being found, Jenna comes back on the scene now married to Eric Stark himself and they take little Cody away from her. The rest of the movie centers on the fight for Maggie to get Cody back and the fight of good versus evil.
I love horror movies and I love horror movies with religious content even more. For me, this movie is reminiscent of the Omen where a boy is born who is the Anti Christ. The twist in this movie is that a girl is born who has the gift to save the world.
I noticed in some reviews that some people had trouble with the dialogue in this movie. That is because of the religious quotes and scenes. But it is these scenes that I love the most about the movie.
What is certain is that Eric Stark is the servant of the devil and his job is to turn Cody over to the dark side or else kill her.
What is less clear is the bible references. In my opinion little Cody represents several people in bible lore. Cody has red hair and I think that was deliberate. Mary Magdalene, the woman closest to Jesus also had red hair. In this sense Cody is the opposite of Eric Stark, she is the servant of Jesus.
It is Eric’s intention that Cody to be turned over to the dark side. A ritual black Sabbath or coven will take place in a week’s time. On the eve of the ritual Eric is racing for time. He refers to the evening meal as “The Last Supper”, which of course is what Jesus and his disciples shared together.
Here in my opinion Cody is now representing Jesus himself. Eric takes her up to the rooftop and plants her on the edge of the roof, he shows her all the city and says it can be hers if she would turn her back on God and go to Satan. This is the biblical scene where Satan tempts Jesus in the wilderness, and says he will give him the world if he would worship him. Eric further re enacts the scene by telling Cody if she really believes in her god to show him her powers, he commands her to fly. The same was asked of Jesus, to jump from the temple because his angels would protect him from falling to his death, and like Jesus she refuses. When Eric sees her faith is so strong and he cannot break her, he lets her down.
The only downside I had with this movie was that it didn’t go far enough. We know it is the ultimate fight between God and the Devil, but the inference that Cody is destined to do good things is never defined. What are these good things? Is she the messenger to prepare the second coming of Christ, will she save the world from Satan, what is it? Perhaps there will be a sequel. If there is I will be the first one to go out and buy it.
I also found that little Holiston to extremely talented to play an adult type role. Kim Bassinger has always been a personal favourite of mine. I loved the acting of the actress that played Jenna, Angela Bettis . Refus did a decent job and so did Jimmy Smits.