Bless the Child is a movie that depicts the eternal supernatural battle between good and evil, with an innocent caught in between. Unfortunately, the pacing drags and the film veers into the horror genre to gain momentum but fails to do anything other provide a few scares.
The innocent in question is Cody O'Connor (Holliston Coleman), a silent six-year old believed to be autistic. Except that she really isn't because she's in constant communication with god and saving her breath to resurrect dead birds. For this reason, she is special and new-age self-healing guru Eric Stark (Rufus Sewell) wants to turn her over to the dark side and use her powers to benefit the return of his master (the devil, of course). The plot involves a battle for Cody, with Eric and his followers on one side, and Cody's aunt Maggie (Kim Basinger), who has cared for Cody since birth, on the other. Aiding Maggie is John Travis (Jimmy Smits), an FBI agent who left the seminary and has to deal with some issues of faith himself. At this point, it should be obvious how many movies this one is standing on the shoulders of.
Bless the Child touches upon the destructive nature of cults, but barely. It tries to ask big questions like "if there's a god, why does it left suffering occur?" This is the insulting bait Stark uses in attempt to sway Cody. Cody's response, nor the film, offers any real answer but instead resorts to sentimentality. I'm sticking to being an atheist, thereby avoiding all the Starks and the Codys of this world.
Stark uses his dark power well, and that provides for some interesting visual effects (incidentally the goblins reminded me of the creatures from Pitch Black). Holliston Coleman, the actress playing Cody, is a delight to watch. I generally find child actors to be incongruous (the previews for Disney's The Kid were enough to turn me away) but she definitely shines. The rest of the cast put in mediocre performances. Bless the Child is worth a rental if you're really bored.