It was only a matter of time before Hollywood made a film about cloning. Studios like to glom onto the latest scientific findings or fads and somehow twist them into thrillers that exploit the public's fear of the unknown. There is very little science in Godsend, just the bare limits to create the story. The rest of this 'thriller' consists of cheap scares, mediocre acting, and a monologue late in the third act explaining the plot to the viewer because the movie forgot to do so itself. It's a shame given the talent in front of the camera. Robert De Niro, Greg Kinnear, and Rebecca Romijn-Stamos star, but it's baffling given the story why they would want to star.

De Niro (Analyze That, City by the Sea) is Dr. Richard Wells, a medical specialist that contacts Paul (Kinnear, Stuck on You, Auto Focus) and Jessie Duncan (Romijn-Stamos, The Punisher, X2: X-Men United) lose their young son Adam (Cameron Bright, The Butterfly Effect, Lone Hero) in a car accident. Wells says that he can clone Adam, so that the Duncan's can again have their son. Jessie agrees, but Paul is much more reluctant. He is aware of the legal and moral implications of their actions. Still, they agree, and Wells moves them from the city to a bucolic countryside where they raise Adam.

As the Adam clone approaches the age where the original Adam died, he begins having nightmares. Horrific images flash through his mind, and he begins to zone out a lot in front of people. Nobody can explain it, and it really worries his parents. Wells thinks it is just a case of night terrors. Paul wants to go outside the community, something he was forbidden to do, and get a second opinion. Godsend starts to sink, and even when it looks like it hits bottom, it just goes down further. Bright, with his bowl cut and big eyes, can look pretty creepy when lit correctly. Director Nick Hamm (The Hole, Talk of Angels) does hs best to scare the audience or make them jump using loud crashes, red herrings, and various camera tricks, because there is nothing inherently scary in the film. It gets old watching Bright stare at Kinnear or Romijn-Stamos with an axe in his hand.

Everything begins with Mark Bomback's (The Night Caller) script. It really makes no sense. The one condition that Wells has for the Duncan's is that they move to where his clinic is, and break off all relationships with anybody, including friends and family that knew Adam. Yes, Jessie and Paul are mourning, but it's hard to believe they will go this far. De Niro's performances lately have been all over the place, and this is not one of his better ones. He sounds like he is reading his lines, and does not come off credibly as a doctor. The worst part of Godsend is that nobody can figure out the story by itself. The reasons behind everything come way out of left field, requiring a character whose sole purpose is to tell Paul everything as he plays detective. So everybody is running around doing their thing looking dumb on screen. It's all pretty lame, and more likely to elicit laughs than fear.

Haro Rates It: Pretty Bad.
1 hour, 42 minutes, Rated PG-13 for violence including frightening images, a scene of sexuality, and some thematic material.

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