Blessed (2004)

APRIL 17, 2010


The fact that Blessed wanted to be a modern day Rosemary’s Baby was pointed out right in the plot description, and the filmmakers were cute and clever enough to make sure they lingered on a sign that named the school where Heather Graham’s character taught “Saint Rosemary’s”, so there’s no question where the filmmakers got their influence. But that is also their downfall, because it just proves how much better Polanski handled the material in his film, and thus provides an example for pretty much every way that Simon Fellows and crew botched theirs.

Let’s start with the home. The building in Rosemary’s was practically its own character, and the film also worked as an identifiable satire of living in an apartment highrise. Here, Graham and James Purefoy apparently have THREE domiciles - an apartment in New York, a small cabin near the facility where they go to have science give their child-making process a little boost, and then a beautiful lakeside home. Few are the films with TWO sequences of characters moving into a new home, and the fact that they seemingly don’t bother getting rid of at least one place is just baffling. There’s a scene later in the film where Purefoy runs into one of the homes and panics because he can’t find Graham, but instead of worrying for our main character along with him, I just couldn’t help but wonder why he didn’t bother to check one of their other homes.

How about the music? Rosemary’s score is beautiful and creepy. Stephen Jones' work for Blessed sounds like something from a “Sounds of the Rainforest” CD that would be accompanied by a touch button sample display at an Ann & Hope or Zayre’s department store. Even during a fight scene, the score was making me want to do some light yoga or maybe paint a fruit-bowl.

And it’s not even fair to compare them in the actress department. Mia Farrow got a Golden Globe nomination and a variety of other nominations and wins for her performance, whereas Heather Graham would probably be the dark horse for a Nickolodeon Kid’s Choice Award for one of her comedies, something she’s far more fitted to than a dramatic role (and I don’t even think she’s much of a comedienne, to be honest). She delivers pretty much every line with the same expression one might use to tell a 4 year old that there’s ice cream waiting for him at home, and when her character begins to lose her husband, she merely pouts as if he said she looked fat in those jeans. And while I usually like Purefoy, again the Rosemary-wannabe approach kills it, because the movie doesn’t have the balls to let him go full blown dark side, which makes his sudden shift to hero at the end as disappointing as it is awkward, since it lacks any sort of real motivator. One minute he’s willingly being wined and dined by the Satan folks, and completely shutting out his wife, then suddenly he’s like Harrison Ford, wife savior extraordinaire.

It’s also just a sloppy movie, something that would be a problem even if it was the most original movie ever made. When someone looks at a website, you see text repeated over and over, and on more than one occasion, placeholder text with (never followed) instructions to fill in the space with certain info. See the pics below and laugh along with me!

And they’re on screen long enough to be seen too, it’s not like I had to go frame by frame to catch their laziness. Yet later in the movie, when they have an anagram solution written on a napkin, they don’t let you see it long enough for it to register (“Evangelists” becomes “Evil Agents”). Great editing work, folks. And it’s impossible to tell how much time has gone by, which is pretty weird for a movie about a pregnancy (Graham shows a still flat stomach in one scene even though it’s been months since she got pregnant, then has a completely full rounded belly in the next scene that takes place what seems to be only a few weeks later). Maybe they shot the movie out of order, like normal people, but forgot to put it back in order during editing, like idiots.

For a change of pace, the end sets up a sequel that rips off The Omen, except with twins. And this is a shame (I won’t hold my breath for Re-Blessed or whatever), because the twin angle might be interesting based on what we see here. At the end, there’s a Halloween party, and the twins (dressed as angels) cause a kid (dressed as the devil!) to choke on a grape, and then his head melts/burns, Halloween III style (no snakes though :(). Juding from their expressions, one twin is clearly into it, the other just seems confused. So it might be interesting if one twin got all of the Satan blood (that’s how they’re evil, by the way - the clinic had a vial of Lucifer’s blood and injected it along with the artificial insemination) and the other was purely good. Then again, maybe it’s just that one of the toddler actors could actually act and the other was just a typically bored kid. Either way, the final scene in the film should never be the only one that intrigues the viewer.

Oh, and can we get a moratorium on movie characters storming into a suspected villains’ office or home in order to accuse them of being villains, and stupidly accepting a “cup of tea” or whatever? Don’t worry about looking rude if you turn it down - chances are it’s fucking poison. If you simply must accept a drink from a suspected villain, make sure it’s a bottled water with the plastic top still attached to the ring, or maybe a juice with the safety button not yet popped up. It’s the only way to be sure.

What say you?

I couldn't find a trailer, so enjoy this guy's rant about the (now aborted - heh) actual Rosemary's Baby remake from Platinum Dunes.

HorrorBlips: vote it up!


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