Blessed (2004)

blessedI’ve seen many “Rosemary’s Baby” wannabes since I was a kid, many of them hit the mark, many of them missed the mark, but all aspired to reach the greatness Roman Polanski did in his film about Satanic cults and the woman who becomes prey for their horrific goals at resurrecting satan. “Blessed” seeks to take that concept and run with it and wouldn’t you know it? It misses the mark. It misses it by thousands of miles. “Blessed” is such a confused and unfocused piece of tripe that I feel nothing but sadness for the likes of Heather Graham and James Purefoy who just shamble around looking for a direction and can never seem to find any.

Sitting down to watch this, I was really just filled with embarrassment and agony from the very beginning because you can sense that no one here hasn’t a clue as to what they’re trying to accomplish. Is this a cautionary tale about the dangers of science? Or is it about a wide eyed woman who becomes prey for satanists? Who knows? Because most of the film veers in either direction and can never decide who the actual heroes are. Heather Graham plays Samantha Howard a woman whose entire focus is to have children. We’re supposed to feel some sorrow for her when she isn’t given the attention she wants when pregnant but writer Jayson Rothwell turns her in to an utterly selfish and shrill individual who almost isn’t deserving of our empathy.

When pregnant she constantly looks for the attention of her husband Craig, who feels just as annoyed by her as everyone else does. And then there’s Purefoy’s character Craig, obviously based off of John Cassevetes’ character Guy in Roman Polanski’s film. He’s self-centered, narcissistic and pretty vain, and yet Rothwell turns him in to a man who doesn’t seem to know what’s happening to his wife. Or maybe he does. I mean Rothwell writes this story in two directions where we’re being told Susan is the victim of a Satanic cult who implanted her with the seeds of demonic children.  And everyone but Craig and Susan seem to be aware of this.

Then by the climax we’re told it was likely a malfunction from the fertility clinic they visit early in the movie. We’re pulled in many different angles and Rothwell never quite sticks with one possible explanation. The rest of the movie is centered on padding where Susan walks around her town a lot and meets with a stranger named Father Carlo, a man who is introduced with supernatural powers and then suddenly is shown to be just a mortal with the abilities of a ninja. How else to explain his tendency to jump in and out of environments without being noticed by Susan? Andy Serkis is slumming it once again as Father Carlo who catches on that Susan’s child is the possible off spring of Satan and rather than simply killing her, he engages her in a friendship, lures her to his house, tries to murder her slowly and then commits suicide once his efforts fail.

Why all the trouble just to give up halfway? There’s no logical reason for anything here. Is Craig keen to what’s happening to his wife? Why the dependence on his book agent who is well versed in satanic mythology? Why does he play innocent most of the time if he’s aware of the ulterior motives his cohorts have for his wife? Regardless, much of the movie plays like a slow and painful car wreck that you can’t stop watching. And once you think you’ve had enough director Simon Fellows deals one of the most pathetic, painfully written and unintentionally comical climaxes ever filmed in a horror movie. Truly it’s no wonder this movie never saw a theatrical distribution. Heather Graham is still as breathtaking as ever but “Blessed” is a horribly written, terribly directed, muddled piece of tripe that takes every advantage to mimic “Rosemary’s Baby” and fails big time. There is no value in this other than to admire Graham’s hypnotic wide eyes.