Not From Heaven – The Godsend (1980)

The Godsend is British horror at its best, an unassuming movie that might seem quite similar to The Omen, but becomes its own thing as it moves along. While it does transform into something completely obvious after the first act, it manages to captivate its audience despite them knowing what is headed their way and credit has to go to Gabrielle Beaumont who directed this film for managing to make it do as such.

It all begins when a pregnant woman who had seemed lost, comes into the lives of the Marlowe family and to say she is strange is putting it lightly. Something is off about her and it is not long before she goes into labour after which the next day, she disappears and leaves behind the daughter she just gave birth to. Alan and Kate decide to raise the girl as her own and all seems perfect in their little family unit until one day, their youngest son dies. One can guess as to what happened and while Beaumont never explicitly shows anything during each successive murder, he does manage to show the after-effects and Alan’s realization that Bonnie, the little girl they have been raising, is the one to blame.

In this particular film, the horror that makes itself known does so slowly, building with the death of each of the Marlowe’s children. There is no blood nor anything visceral to see as all the murders take place off-screen until that shocking finale and it works perfectly as it leaves the audience to use their imaginations as to what happened in each case. One thing that is for sure is that Wilhelmina Green who played the little girl is incredibly creepy and as the movie continues on its trajectory, she only becomes more so as intent and motive make themselves known. There is a reference made in the picture that Bonnie is like a cuckoo, killing off the other birds to gain the parent’s attention and when all is said and done and her horror is fully revealed, she has successful in doing so.

It is easy to sympathize with the parents as their children die, the tragedy of the situation quite palpable with Malcolm Stoddard as the strong, silent father and Cyd Hayman the grieving mother, the both of them doing a great job in their roles. It is interesting to note that the entire film takes place in broad daylight, the horror committed essentially under the parent’s noses which makes it all the more evil and one cannot help but be enraptured by it all, wondering how Bonnie can get away with it and remembering that to her parents, she is just an innocent child.

Though this is a movie that very few talk about, it being overshadowed by other bigger, bloodier pictures of the time, it sets out to do something a little different where the victims are not the usual young co-eds and in the end, it works out quite well.

3.5 out of 5

1 reply »

  1. Gabrielle Beaumont directed from a script by her husband Olaf Pooley, they previously collaborated on Michael Gough’s CRUCIBLE OF HORROR aka THE CORPSE.

    Liked by 1 person

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