Horror Film Review: 'Blessed are the Children'
(EDITORIAL NOTE: THIS REVIEW REFLECTS THE OPINIONS OF THE WRITER AND NOT NECESSARILY THOSE OF WWW>GEEKSAGOGO>COM)
Forty eight years after the Roe v Wade decision, abortion remains at the forefront of Americans’ political psyche. No one is elected or appointed until he or she expresses their unequivocal position on the subject. To some degree, Chris Moore’s Blessed are the Children is a reflection of this. A woman and her friends are stalked by a bloodthirsty gang of baby-masked killers following her decision to have an abortion, ostensibly punishing them for their sins. But Blessed are the Children’s doesn’t really present an political position on the subject, and treats it is just a premise for a low-budget slasher flick. If a message was intended, it’s ambiguous at best.
Tracy, reeling at the end two abusive relationships as well as the recent death of her father, abruptly learns she is pregnant. After an extended bathroom soliloquy, she reaches the decision to have an abortion. Following the procedure, she is set upon by a group of masked assailants, who terrorize her and her friends in order to “punish” them for their “sins.” Originally, the “sins” they seek to correct are abortion and loose sexual habits. Later on, they extend their efforts to Tracy’s friends--a socially awkward woman of color and an outspoken lesbian.
As a side note, the “abortion clinic” is shown in the movie’s introduction as an empty storefront in an abandoned outdoor mall. We don’t learn what it is until Tracy’s visit, almost half way into the film. As a result, the introduction made ZERO sense. Couldn’t the director have made a sign, or something? That’s lazy.
Another thing about this film is that, with the exception of a few cars going by in the background of a few scenes, there are literally NO other humans to be seen. Outdoors, in a restaurant, outside a theater--no one else exists except the characters in the film. There’s a reason low-budget movies are filmed in the woods or exclusively in someone’s house: a lack of background activity is believable and can be written off. But if you’re going to have scenes in public, find a few people to walk by the camera, or just one guy in different outfits. Take an ad out in the local paper or put a flyer up in a campus liquor store, asking for extras. Some minor characters are handled solely through voice-overs.
But enough of that.
The acting isn’t great, but that’s not entirely the fault of the actors. You simply can’t write dialogue and expect great things. You have to direct it as well. The characters must do more than simply deliver their lines, then wait for the others to deliver theirs. Character conversations come across as extremely wooden and unnatural.
Though the story is originally formed around Tracy and her situations (her multiple "exes," her mother, and her go nowhere life in general), her story comes to an abrupt end way too early in the film. Everything after that point seems like an afterthought, like an extended wrap-up of a too-short story.
Though the movie doesn’t really present an opinion on abortion and women’s liberation in general, it does seem to take a swipe at traditional conservative values. Tracy’s former friend who married early and had a family is shown to be angry and exasperated at her husband and child. An ostensibly “traditional” southern woman speaks with such an over-the-top accent she might as well have been time-warped in from a nineteenth century ladies cotillion.
The movie’s high point comes in the form of Tracy’s friend, Mandy--an outgoing, outspoken, and charmingly annoying lesbian who turns out to be the most resourceful of the bunch. Not to sound sexist or disrespectful but, as a straight male, I found her the most desirable of the trio.
I respect low-budget filmmakers, but this movie doesn’t try very hard. It’s a no-budget, run of the mill slasher flick with every lazy horror trope you can think of. It’s not unwatchable and, if this sort of movie is your thing, go for it. What’s the worst that can happen? But there are better picks out there.