By Dr. Zaius
Tuesday, October 23rd, 2018 at 6:00 pm
Blessed are the Children Directed by Chris Moore
Written by Chris Moore and Chris Wesley
Starring Kaley Ball, Keni Bounds, Arian Thigpen, Jordan Boyd, Michael Kinslow, David Moncrief
Released October 23, 2018
Blessed are the Children is the kind of horror film that can and likely will offend someone in 2018. Despite that… or maybe in spite of that, it feels right at home amongst the popular 70s and 80s slashers it gleefully pays homage to. Co-writer and director Chris Moore stretches the film’s low budget to its extremes and ends up with a film with shockingly good gore effects, that tackles a taboo subject in a way only a horror film could.
Traci Patterson (Kaley Ball) is living the kind of life where the man she’s just had sex with feels comfortable enough to discuss the other women he’s seeing before telling her they should stop seeing each other. Still recovering from an abusive ex-fiance and with the indignity of being dumped by her “friend with benefits,” it all hits rock bottom when she finds out she’s pregnant. Luckily for her, where she struggles in romance she makes up in friendship, and her best friends Mandy (Keni Bounds) and Erin (Arian Thigpen) are extremely supportive of any decision she makes. That decision, is to terminate the pregnancy.
At the clinic, Traci struggles with her choice, especially as weird baby-masked sign-holding protesters lurk in the parking lot and at the windows. Between them and her drunk ex Ben (Jordan Boyd), Traci is lucky to have such loyal friends and their trio makeup one of my favorite parts of the films. The three leads are all genuinely likable and relatable women, and Moore does a great job giving the audience time to invest in these characters. Each woman is coping with their own specific issues and it’s easy to empathize with them, which makes it worse when the darker, more horrific stuff starts to go down.
By building up each of the characters, it allows Moore to make some truly ballsy choices in acts two and three as the film truly embraces it’s “slasher” label. Baby-masked killers garnishing knives, razors, and even a pair of gardening shears begin hunting down and amassing a pretty decent body count. You can tell where Moore gets a lot of his horror inspirations from by the way Moore frames certain shots, dresses his killers and even some of his musical cues. In horror there is a narrow line that separates paying homage to classics and outright copying the material. Here, it’s clear Moore was honoring horror’s history and he makes up for the lack of budget with some gnarly gore, including a tongue slice, vicious stabs and one brutal bathroom death that actually made me wince. And please make sure to stay and actually pay attention to the end credits for a super geeky easter egg that true horror fans will get a kick out of.
Blessed are the Children was really surprising. Moore handled a sensitive topic of a woman’s right to choose, while writing three very intriguing and independent female characters. Whereas it would’ve been easy to dumb down the material with silliness, nudity, and more kills in order to make a typical 80s slasher, Chris Moore trusted his audience. He gives his characters time to develop, builds suspense, and employs mysterious and intriguing slasher villains. Having seen and reviewed his upcoming 2019 film Triggered (review here), I can attest that Moore is definitely one to watch in the horror genre. And after getting to talk with him earlier in the week, I am fully on board with with getting the budget to do a remake of Curtains (1983).
Blessed are the Children is for sale on Amazon now and is available to stream on Amazon Instant Video.
After she decides to terminate her pregnancy, Traci Patterson begins to suspect that someone or something sinister is following her and her friends.