Bless the Child is a 2000 German American film featuring Kim Basinger and Jimmy Smits.
10 out of 10 stars. There are a few flaws but this movie is scary and has withstood the test of time.
In 1994 New York City, Maggie O’Connor is a psychiatric nurse at the local hospital. One night coming home from work on the bus a woman tells her that the same star that appeared the night Jesus was born has returned. When Maggie gets home her drug abuser sister Jenna is there with a baby and she’s all strung out. Jenna and Maggie get into a fight and Jenna leaves without her baby Cody, so Maggie raises her.
Cody is not like other children. While the doctors diagnose her as having a form of autism, Maggie thinks she hears something the rest of us can’t hear. Since she’s not religious and doesn’t believe in God or the devil, it never occurs to her that the voice she hears is God’s.
Over the next six years, Maggie has Cody tested and moves her through a series of schools that encourage her to advance at her own pace. She ends up in a Catholic school with other unique children. Between the sisters at the Catholic school and the babysitter who is a devout Catholic, Cody is exposed to God daily. When she begins exhibiting unique powers, Maggie is slow to realize it, but the sisters do.
Meanwhile in New York City six year old kids are popping up dead with a pitchfork branded into their arms. They share the same birth date, the same day Cody was born six years ago. The year is now 2000 and Jenna shows up at Maggie’s door with none other than the famous Eric Stark who is a cult leader. He and Jenna are married and immediately kidnap Cody.
Maggie rushes to the police and reports Cody kidnapped, but the police will not intervene because Maggie has never legally adopted Cody and Jenna is her birth mother. But the FBI agent studying the recent murders of six year old kids notices that Cody’s birth date is the same as the dead kids and Eric Stark is a suspect in those murders.
When Maggie goes to try to kidnap Cody back, she sees things that she is sure must not be real, like demons flying over the house where Eric and Jenna live. But she goes anyway because she loves Cody. She brings a gun but when she fires it the gun is empty and Eric has the bullets in his hand. This “magic” is because he is the prophet of Satan. He calls his henchman (the guy who kidnapped the children) and Maggie is knocked unconscious. When she wakes she’s on a bridge going the wrong way and drugged. As the car begins sliding off the bridge, she is saved by a stranger (something that keeps happening throughout the film, showing that God is watching over her even if she doesn’t believe in him).
The near misses keep mounting until both Cody and Maggie are fighting for their lives. The FBI agent helps Maggie, along with the nuns from the school.
What I didn’t like was that the satanic rituals weren’t accurate at all. They threw in runes, some pagan icons, and gargoyles of all things. Gargoyles and grotesques were placed on churches to protect them, not to represent Satan. They got that very very wrong.
10 out of 10 stars. One of my favorite films.