It All Happens In The Dark

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Rollergirl and Mrs. Mills slummin’ it with some Satanists

Blessed (2004)

Do you think this might be a Rosemary’s Baby copycat?

Rosemary’s Baby is one of my favorites – be it horror or non-horror. And, I confess – I love Rosemary’s Baby knock-offs. There is something about devil worshipers and pregnant women that just tickles me.

Blessed has some thoroughly awful opening credits that were almost enough to make me give up on it before I’d even seen much of anything. But I kept my chin up and toughed it out.

The film begins with a very pregnant woman in a nightgown on her balcony, which doubles as a ledge, high above the city, drinking what appears to be wine. As tears flood her face, she kisses the cross around her neck and steps off the edge.

And we cut to Heather Graham waking up. What is it with these pregnant women and their dreams about other pregnant women in nightgowns leaping to their death? (Yes, I’m looking at you Witchery.)

We now are treated to a production of a school Christmas pageant which Heather Graham – I mean Samantha Howard (played by Heather Graham!)  – appears to be in charge of – so she is a music teacher? We are never told, and Samantha never really expresses any interest in anything musical – or anything really – aside from having a baby, shopping and snooping around outside her neighbor’s house. So I’ll go with music teacher. Oh, yeah, and the place she teaches is called Saint ROSEMARY’s Catholic School.

Oh, I do like Heather Graham. What the hell happened to her?

Well, the pageant ends, everyone leaves, but Sam stays behind to wait with a cute little boy whose parents have not yet turned up. My advice to her at this point would be to kidnap this boy, run away, get new names and black wigs for both of them and raise the child as her own. She is so going to get screwed and end up giving birth to the devil’s spawn – and this little Bo Peep’s parents don’t seem to care about him! It would be best for everyone! And look! Why the two wait, the boy is already asking Heather hard hitting questions like “Where do babies come from?” It is meant to be.

Alas, the bad parental unit shows up and Sam’s chance is gone. Sam takes a taxi home through the big bad city, and at her apartment we meet her husband Craig (James Purefoy). He is British, he’s a struggling writer and he just got fired from his job. He thinks now would be the perfect time to make a baby. Oh, yes – you’ve just lost your job, Sam has just said that the two of you cannot survive on her income alone – let’s add to the family!  Also, I think their apartment is haunted, because as Sam and Craig make out in the bathtub (sexy!) the camera pulls out of the room and the door swings shut on its own.

Well, it looks like they can’t have a baby anyway. At least not in the traditional way. But don’t take the time to wonder why because you will not be told. All you need to know is that Sam and Craig talk to their doctor and the doctor recommends the PERFECT clinic for them – in a sleepy little upstate town called Lakeview – full of Satanists! I gots a hunch. The doctor says that the clinic is super busy, but he can use his influence to help them out. He is such a smug Satanist bastard.

As the two drive to Lakeview I notice that Craig is wearing a jacket from The North Face. He’s in on it! He’s a Satanist too! He promised them the baby! Or he promised them Sam as a vessel to bring evil spilling forth into the world! Oh, Sam, I wish I could warn you!

It is now that I realize I have had the “Little Lord Jesus asleep in his bed” song going through a loop in my head for the past five minutes, thanks to that damn pageant.

This clinic is serious business, kids – you have to pass through a security checkpoint to get in. Dr. Leeds (Debora Weston) tells the couple “we’re pioneering many new procedures here at Lakeview” – like adding the devil’s blood to the eggs they have extracted from Sam. Satan’s blood of course being something they just happen to have around. They inject the embryos that they’ve Bezzelbubbed up back into Sam and while this conception is not as romantic as the one Rosemary Woodhouse shares with Satan, it is sterile.

While Heather and her husband are in Lakeview they are staying in a rental cabin and their neighbor is a very pregnant woman who rushes away with her husband in the middle of the night. Heather sees them fleeing from the window where she is nosy parker-ing, and she also notices a black figure in a black hood. Well, pregnant neighbor and husband do not make it far – the husband is dispatched and the pregnant woman is hit in the stomach with a big stick.

Lakeview has something called “an Annual Stampede” in which all the men run a race around the lake – while wearing supremely silly looking reindeer antlers. Betty (Stella Stevens) tells Samantha that this dates back to the 1700s. A local virgin reached marrying age whereupon five suitors asked for her hand, but her father couldn’t choose, so he made them all race around the lake. None of this is really important – I just wanted to be able to post this screencap:

Sam and Craig find out the fertilization took – so baby is coming! Sam will soon be chopping off her hair, eating raw meat, drinking Tannis Root smoothies, and wearing super Mod print dresses. I’m telling you stretch marks are the least of her worries.

Sam and Craig are invited to a party, and everyone at the party seems to know already that Sam is pregnant. Great ethics Dr. Leeds – I guess you missed that whole course on confidentiality while you were busy sacrificing virgins. Well, no matter, Sam is just so thrilled and honored that Dr. Leeds wants to supervise Sam’s pregnancy herself, and Craig gets introduced to a real Roman Castevets character, Earl Sidney (David Hemmings) who works “in publishing.” I think he probably works “in evil.” Earl is very interested in hearing about Craig’s writing – well, of course he is now that you sold your wife’s uterus to him and his wacky devil worshipping pals.

Returning to the city Sam and Craig find someone has broken into their apartment while they were away and totally trashed the place. Miraculously, Betty calls and informs them that the house across from the chalet they rented is now available – because the previous tenants are dead! Well, Betty doesn’t mention this but we know it to be true – remember the disappearing husband and the big branch to the belly lady?

Craig goes to meet with Earl Sydney and takes along his agent J. Lloyd Samuel (Fionnula Flanagan) – and is offered a one hundred thousand dollar advance on his next book.

Sam and Craig go take a tour of the house in Lakeview – it even comes fully furnished – because when you’re dead you don’t need your lamps or armchairs. And the rent for the next three months is already paid up! It almost seems to good to be true!

Sam finds out she is having twins! Dr. Leeds and Sam are both happy with the ultrasound but it worried me a little. Maybe it is those Demon-y screeches on the soundtrack every time they showed the monitor.

Sam spots Mr. Hoodie, the guy she saw the night the neighbors (or rather now – former tenants) disappeared, in the mall while she is shopping. All in black with black gloves on – and he appears to be pursuing her.

Her pursues her right into the road where she his hit by a car.

Sam is OK and the babies are fine, but she had odd visions of a menacing looking church and black robed figures and fire, as she was rushed to the hospital. Craig tells her not to worry, that they’re in Lakeview “a million miles from bad people and bad things.” Oh-ho-ho-ho silly lying British husband.

J.Lloyd Samuel does a search online for Escom Industries and these are the results she gets:

Don’t you love when someone thinks ahead!

With all of those helpful pages to guide her, J.Llo-uel finds a page about the “Spiritus Research Group” and “Multiple Egg cloning.”

J. Lloydy goes to see Earl Sidney and she wants to know his relationship with Lakeview. Sidney offers her tea which I’m guessing is poison, because he is a Satanist and also because he has a pompous grin on his face.

And I was right! J. Lloyd tries to call Craig but when he picks up she can only choke to death. Don’t the Howards have Caller ID?

We get some more of malevolent Sonogram sounds and Sam begins having pains in her stomach that she says feel like scraping needles but from what the soundtrack “implies” sounds like the slashing of a dozen knives.

Samantha is out shopping again when see the the black hooded creeper and now he is teleporting around like Jason Voorhees in the discotheque of the SS Lazarus.

She decides to get some coffee at a shop in the mall, and suddenly Andy Serkis is sitting across from her. This doesn’t seem to phase Sam. Yes, she keeps seeing a stranger who dresses in all black and wears black gloves – yes, she saw the stranger outside the night her neighbors disappeared, and yes, she was frightened of this person so much that she ran into the street and got hit by a car. And yes, Andy Serkis is dressed in all black and wearing black gloves – but there is no hood in sight – so no worries, right? The two begin a conversation and Andy says he is in the business of “souls” – oh, no, my bad – he points to his shoes – he means “soles” – what a silly man with a silly accent!

Craig’s book is published and there is a big party in New York. It must be a building that belongs to Earl Sidney because he leads Sam upstairs and shows her his personal art collection and also lays on her a big ole chunk of exposition.

He tells her of Saint Ambrose who slayed the Angel of Light – the angel who turned people away from a God who didn’t care very much for mankind. Saint Ambrose killed the angel before the angel’s good works could be done and the light left the world, and the centuries that followed were known as The Dark Ages. A monastery in Italy is rumored to have a small vial containing the blood of the slayed angel – the angel Lucifer. The vial eluded man for centuries, many sought to possess it, if found a new apocalypse would begin and the light would return to the world one final time.

OK… two things… a new apocalypse? When did the old one occur? And didn’t he just pretty much tell Sam that he was a Satanist?

Well, duh, the vial was found – I already told you they used the devil’s blood to make Sam’s babies. Sometimes I think you don’t take me seriously at all.

Craig is writing all the time, he never gives Sam any attention, they haven’t slept together in two months, he doesn’t even seem to like Sam to touch him. Also, Sam thinks Earl Sidney is creepy. Her husband starts being the biggest prick ever and thank God she slaps him. Good job Sam! Now push him out a window!

Sam sees Andy Serkis again while she is out and about and goes to say hello to him. He is still dressed all in black and wearing black gloves. Andy starts going on about Evangelists and that they are really “evil agents” – see how clever he is? He asks Sam if she believes in evil, and starts talking about the Spiritus Institute being in the same building as the fertility clinic. Sam has forgotten that the first time she met Andy he knew her name even though she did not tell him – why does she give this guy the benefit of the doubt? He FINALLY starts to creep her out and she gets the hell out of there. See what happens when you’re nice to people?

We see Sam watching an episode of Jerry Springer called “Who’s The Daddy?” Rich!

Sam decides to do some research of her own on the Spiritus Institute and finds the same page J. Lloyd came across about Multiple Egg Cloning. Sam looks worried. Why they advertise that on their website? 

Andy shows appears and sneaks up on Sam and says, you will not be harmed – don’t scream or fight, k?

Oh, and look, he’s a priest. He takes her back to his hotel room. I’m surprised the Satanists aren’t keeping a more watchful eye on Sam. Especially after the last people in the house disappeared and Sam is carrying their precious cargo.

Andy tells Sam that her babies must not live, they are the spawn of science – agents of evil. He just wants her to give him the ring drink some green sludge, which he says is salvation, but is totally poison. I’m kind of torn here – if Gollum tells you that your baby is evil, should you listen?

And also, isn’t suicide considered a major no-no by religious types? In theory wouldn’t Sam killing herself send her straight to hell? Or would she be forgiven because she is doing it for the sake of humanity? Loophole!

It all turns out OK, in the end – well, kind of. Poor Sam, she goes into labor and doesn’t get any pain meds – she has to deliver her babies in an ambulance – and not only is she delivering twins, but twins that are the spawn of Satan. Can you imagine the pain? I can’t. Oh, childbirth, what a beautiful thing.

Four years later and Sam and Craig have the creepiest blond little Village of the Damned bitches I have ever seen. But they can still get away with dressing as angels for Halloween. The ending seems suspiciously similar to the last scene of The Astronaut’s Wife – so now Blessed is “imitating” another “imitation” of Rosemary’s Baby.

Is one to assume that all the women who were going to the Lakeview clinic were getting Satan’s blood with their insemination?

Blessed lacks the psychological depth that is needed to make it really chilling, and not a lot happens – Samantha never really seems aware that anything weird is going on and the majority of the “action” takes place in the last twenty minutes. There isn’t nearly enough tension to keep one involved or interested and it doesn’t help that you can guess everything that is going to occur before even watching the film. If you’ve seen one pregnant with the Antichrist movie, you’ve seen this one. C

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