• Kelly M. Hudson

Not a Godsend

An English couple is out with their pack of young kids taking a walk in the countryside when they come across a strange pregnant woman (Angela Pleasance, daughter of Donald) who is in need of help. They take her back to their home and give her some orange juice and try to ascertain who she is and what’s going on. She is vague and mostly just sits and stares. A storm hits and she begins to give birth. They summon a local doctor and the baby is born. The next morning, the woman is gone but she left the baby behind. With its blonde hair and strange eyes, she looks just like she stepped out from the Village of the Damned. Time passes, the kids grow some. It turns out, this little girl is part of the family as her birth mother was never found. It also turns out, she’s deadly, and the other children start to die, one by one. Are these deaths truly at the hand of the strange girl, or just bad luck? The dad thinks so, the mother, not so much. Solving this mystery is the key to the survival of the remaining children.

The Godsend is one of those intellectual horror films, the kind that plays it utterly straight, is brooding, and flirts with themes of childhood and parenting, and addresses the fears of every father and mother concerning the safety of their children. There are hints of the supernatural here and there but nothing is ever overt and it’s left to the imagination of the viewer as to what’s really going on. In short, we get a long, rambling film full of paranoia and dread that really never comes to any kind of conclusion, except that the family is irrevocably shattered. This might sound excellent on a certain level, but mostly I found the film to be fairly tedious. There are some nice, suspenseful moments to be had, especially at the end of the movie, but the time between is spent on lots of meaningless dialogue and with nothing really happening. The Godsend isn’t a bad movie, but it’s rather dull.

In the end, your liking of this film will depend on your patience and your outlook. If you want something moody that delivers low-key chills, you might really enjoy this. I do like those kinds of movies (see: The Changeling). But for me, this one didn’t connect. It played like a stuffy made-for-TV movie. Nothing wrong with that, but I certainly won’t be revisiting it.

Two Stars out of Four

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