(With occasional chorus or verse from "Hazard" by Richard Marx)
There's nothing much in "The Reaping" that you haven't seen before in other movies, except maybe Hilary Swank's bad hairdo and head lice that scuttle like little roaches in the path of an electric trimmer. Maybe it's a little too much Tarantino in the air since Grindhouse, but just as Vacancy rehashed the bad motel horror film genre, so "The Reaping" covers the devil worship - avenging angel theme.
Hilary Swank plays a former missionary who has given up on religion since the ritual murder of her family in the Sudan. She's now become a "miracle-buster" (sort of like a ghost-buster and a myth-buster) and spends her days finding logical scientific explanations for seemingly miraculous occurrences. One day, she gets a call to go to a place called Haven, where the people report:
We used to walk down by the river And now the river's gone all red We used to walk along the river But now the fish have turned up dead
She initially dismisses the problem as bacteria in the water, but soon changes her mind while wading deep in the red stuff. Soon, frogs are dropping from the sky, flies are infesting the barbecue, and the cows just aren't able to come home anymore.
No one understood what had happened in Haven No one knew until the frogs and flies from the plagues of old Came and chilled their souls Man with a cross came knocking next morning There she was surrounded by a dozen people suddenly Crying blasphemy
The deeply religious little town tries to convince her that the source of the plagues lies in the form of a twelve year old girl (AnnaSophia Robb from Bridge to Terabithia) who may have murdered her older brother by the river bank, and who is somehow involved in some nasty devil worshipping stuff. Swank spends a large part of the movie running around in diaphanous nightgowns, low rider jeans and short tank tops, as she searches for the logical explanation for the Biblical plagues.
She knew there was an explanation She thought they'd all be safe and sound She knew it started at the river What ailed this old religious town
After a night of very realistic dream sequences, she contacts an old acquaintance, Father Costigan, who tells her of burning pictures, upside down sickles, child sacrifice and the avenging angel who will destroy the devil worshippers. Things get pretty hot for both of them from this point in, and she is forced to revisit her faith after the lice infestation and boil outbreak prepare the way for the swarm of killer locusts.
She thought about her life gone by And how it all went wrong There's no escape for her this time As her religion's gone, long gone
If you're the sort that pays attention in Sunday school, by the time the darkness falls and the fireballs start hailing from the sky, you'll be well prepared for the angel of death to start culling the first borns, but then the movie takes a somewhat predictable twist, leading up to an absolutely horrible ending.
Worth renting if you like this sort of thing, but not exactly a standout for the genre.
* out of **** Stephen Hopkins has done nothing but torture his audience throughout his lackluster career of achingly bad potboilers. He's the guy who made "Predator 2", "A Nightmare on Elm Street 5"; and on significantly better days, he's also the guy who directed "The Life and Deaths of Peter Sellers". But now, he's nearly outdone himself, as he has made "The Reaping"; a boring, stupid ship-wreck of a horror film that treats some good ideas and themes with extreme disrespect. … more
I write reviews for a hobby. Most of my reviews are short and to the point, on account of my short attention span. I try to make my reviews both informative and entertaining, and sometimes I succeed. … more
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