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Oh, GOD!

  • Nov 13, 2011
* 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. Look, if it's a religious horror film I'm getting; I want something smart. And I want something that deals with the clichés of pro-religious cinematic storytelling with care. Hopkins and his screenwriting team do the opposite of what I'd anticipate when walking into a movie like this; and deliver one of the worst films of 2007, a year that was full of joy. The year itself contained some of the best films of the 2000's; and that makes it all the more sad that something as unbearable as this could have also been released at such a suitably fortunate time. It turns the good times bad; the joyous things in life to the joyless. Do you really want to put yourself through that?

Maybe you do, maybe you don't. Either way, I was willing to take one for the team; because I'm just a nice guy like that. I'd advise you not to do the same, because honestly, who REALLY wants to sit through a 100-minute shit fest like this? For the sake of negative criticism, perhaps it's somewhat necessary. But otherwise, it's a silly and preposterous movie in serious need of some redeeming factors.

The film opens in Chile; where religious debunkers (yeah, that's basically who they are) Katherine Winter (Hilary Swank) and Ben (Idris Elba) are investigating a supposed "miracle" in said area; only to "debunk" it as they had originally intended. Neither Winter nor her colleague are at all fond of the words written in the Bible; their research has "proven" the non-existence of God in the universe, as they would think.

Over time, we learn that a tragedy befell Winter that led her to her current state of atheism, and that she is still attempting to put back the pieces of her shattered life. I won't reveal the tragedy, but I will say that it's the product of every deepest, darkest cliché hidden within this often tired, well-worn genre.

Anyways, I am getting slightly off-track. Most of the film takes place in a town called Haven LA, where those who reside there believe a deadly plague (one of the ten that God will supposedly unleash onto the world by the end of days) has reached their quiet "safe haven" (ohoho). The plague comes in the way of locusts, maggots, food that won't cook without bugs suddenly appearing on it, and plenty of other creepy crawlies. If you like bugs, then you might like this movie. Or maybe not.

I was not enthusiastic about this film. It does not deserve a good plot synopsis. If you're curious - and you really shouldn't be - there's always the good ol' plot synopsis to quench your thirst. However, if you don't care whatsoever, then good; I think you're on the right track. "The Reaping", in spite of its competent visual tones and intriguing central themes, doesn't even exploit its subjects. It kind of just...lets them sit there, which is a damn shame, because with ideas like the ones presented, it could have made for something entertaining and intelligent. Instead, all potential is wasted on absurd dialogue, derivative characters, and a contrived plot that makes little-to-no sense. There isn't a moment in the film worth enjoying; or worth watching, for the matter. Friends, if the film speaks of God's ten deadly plagues, then "The Reaping" is certainly one of them, and thanks to director Hopkins and his inability to get anything right, it's a pretty deadly one.

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review by . November 16, 2008
(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 …
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Ryan J. Marshall ()
Ranked #11
It's very likely that the only kind of reviews I'll ever post here are movie reviews. I'm very passionate about film; and at this point, it pretty much controls my life. Film gives us a purpose; … more
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About this movie



Genre: Horror, Action, Adventure
Release Date: April 5, 2007
MPAA Rating: R
Screen Writer: Chad Hayes
Runtime: 1hr 38min
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"Haven's Plagues"
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