Welcome to the clone zone: splicing together the celluloid DNA of The Omen, Jacob's Ladder and The Sixth Sense, Godsend is a supernatural chiller that's so formulaic its tagline could have been e=mc2. Greg Kinnear and Rebecca Romijn-Stamos star as bereaved parents who foolishly let Robert De Niro clone their dead son Adam (Cameron Bright), using some dodgy genetics. Somewhere along the way, X and Y-chromosomes get blended into alphabet soup and the nipper returns with an evil stare that even the demonic Damien would be frightened of.
"If you lost what you loved most in this world, what would you be willing to do to get it back?" is the question posed by the script as it toys with ripped-from-the-headlines fears about genetic engineering. It's a high concept premise, but it's one that the movie quickly drops in favour of an old-fashioned spookfest in which ghosts replace genomes, and Adam Mk II starts seeing dead people.
"EERIE SENSE OF MENACE"
Crafting some sphincter-tightening shock sequences, British director Nick Hamm is more interested in establishing an eerie sense of menace than in grappling with the film's mad science (given just how mad the science is, that really is a godsend). An expert at the kind of jumpy scares that will make most audiences spend more time in the air than their seats, Hamm turns everyday locations like bathrooms and bedroom closets into sites of terror, as hands, faces, and claw hammers loom into frame at unexpected moments.
Major kudos deserves to be given to the cast, who approach the material with lip-tight seriousness. As the bereaved identikit parents, Kinnear blubs his eyes out manfully while Romijn-Stamos (better known as blue-painted Mystique from X-Men) proves that she can act with her clothes on. Best of all, De Niro manages - for the first time since Jackie Brown - to look more like an actor than a sleepwalker. Pint-sized Bright, meanwhile, plays the spooky, sallow-faced nipper to perfection.