Tapping into the current interest in the possibility of human cloning, Godsend takes potentially interesting material and turns it into sleazy genre trash. Even the presence of three solid lead performers can't save this travesty.

The film stars Greg Kinnear and Rebecca Romijn-Stamos as Paul and Jessie Duncan, whose eight-year-old son is killed in an accident. Shortly thereafter, they're approached by geneticist Dr. Richard Wells (Robert De Niro, not exactly believable here), who says he has discovered the secret of human cloning and wants to use their dead son's tissue in an experiment.

The couple agree, and Jessie soon gives birth to a clone of her child. But as the boy (Cameron Bright) approaches his eighth birthday, he begins exhibiting bizarre and violent behavior: visions (he sees dead people!), acting out, all sorts of weird stuff. Turns out Dr. Wells has not exactly been on the up and up: When making the clone he included some DNA from his dead son, a psychopathic killer. Ooh, scary! So now the little creep needs to be dealt with, but since the parents don't want to kill their own offspring, Godsend comes up with an ending that is as inevitable as it is ludicrous.

Director Nick Hamm's film plays like a by-the-numbers recitation of hoary genre conventions. It's as if he absorbed everything from Village of the Damned to The Bad Seed, and regurgitated it without the style or smarts of any of those previous works. Films like this always have an audience of sorts, but you can bet it will not appear on the resumes of Kinnear, Romijn-Stamos or De Niro anytime in the near future.

-Lewis Beale