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The Reaping (2007)

DVD Cover (Warner Brother)
Genres:
Horror, Religious Horror, Supernatural Horror
Director:
Stephen Hopkins Stephen Hopkins
Starring:
Hilary Swank Hilary Swank
David Morrissey David Morrissey
Idris Elba Idris Elba
AnnaSophia Robb AnnaSophia Robb
Stephen Rea Stephen Rea

5.5 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by Crispy
Added: October 09, 2007
This is one of those movies that nobody likes. It rocks a solid 7% on Rotten Tomatoes, my local newspaper slammed it and even our own Billy Ray had some choice words about it. Still, I have somewhat of a soft spot for these bad movies and I've found I like a pretty large chunk of movies everybody hates. That fact, coupled with the premise at hand, gave me high hopes for this one. Well, I liked The Reaping more than most but I can definitely see why it's so universally panned.

A priest is suddenly woken by burning smell in his room. Jumping up, he realizes that the picture of a young woman is burning. Upon further inspection, he notices that only the woman's face has burned with the mysterious flames leading off the paper. In a panic, he jumps up and examines the other pictures he has of her. All of them have been burned the same way and most frightening of all, when the pictures are placed together the burns form a sinister symbol. The woman in the pictures is Katherine Winter, a skeptical investigator who specializes in disproving religious miracles. Her latest case is the small town of Haven, a town whose river has apparently turned completely to blood. As we all know, this is the first in a series of plagues that God made Egypt suffer through in order to save innocent people. As Katherine and her partner, Ben, investigate they begin to learn that the town folks are religious to an insane degree and they're blaming a girl named Lauren for the river. Lauren is the illegitimate offspring of a woman living deep in the marsh, and after finding her brother's dead body shortly after the river turned, the superstitious group is convinced she's a witch. As Katherine continues her investigation, the other plagues continue to happen, both rocking her faith in nothing and bringing back her darkest memory.

Sure, the story seems decent enough, but unfortunately it just can't hold itself. The town's people all annoyed the hell out of me, and not in that "they're supposed to" sort of way. Yes, I know a few Christian people who are off the charts, but this was ridiculous. It was like a damn caricature. Plus, one goes into this movie expecting the plagues to be the main focus. No, instead most of them are just thrown in there for a few seconds and then we move on. Granted, while some of them looked great, the lice plague in particular comes to mind, I would have liked to see them a bit more centered. Instead, our main plotline follows Lauren, and many of the story and twists are lifted straight out of The Omen and Rosemary's Baby.

I've never been a fan of Hillary Swank myself, and this one isn't changing my mind, although she was able to pull a few nicely done scenes out of her hat. Same goes for David Morrissey, who plays Doug, Katherine's main contact at Haven. Nothing spectacular, but he manages not to be a complete waste. The true star here is Idris Elba as her partner, Ben. Fortunately not falling into the typical black comic relief role, he's still able to provide that same tension relief in a much more realistic manner; one of a believer who can barely digest what's happening around him.

Despite my high hopes for it, The Reaping left me pretty disappointed. I think it would have fared a lot better if the plagues were kept in the center of the plotline and if the story more closely paralleled its Exodus counterpart. I'm not saying it had to be a movie adaptation of the Bible book itself, nor even end with a divine origin, but it would have worked better than the path they chose instead. Its slow story and long list of unoriginal twists, including one last groan inducing, barely coherent attempt at the end, has left this flick getting a resounding "Meh." 4.5/10
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bluemeanie #1: bluemeanie - added 10/10/2007, 04:46 PM
What I love is the trailer for the film. The title -- WHAT HATH GOD WROUGHT? -- comes flying on the screen, followed suddenly by the answer: HILARY SWANK. I crack up every time I see it...the film too...it's laughably bad. 3/10.
Chad #2: Chad - added 01/13/2008, 01:11 AM
I thought it was a pretty good film, much better than most give it credit for. Of course, I'm a huge fan of religious-themed horror, so that may explain it. Anywho, 7/10.
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