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Overall Rating

Awesome: 9.89%
Worth A Look: 7.69%
Just Average: 6.59%
Pretty Crappy38.46%
Sucks: 37.36%

9 reviews, 37 user ratings

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Reaping, The
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by Mel Valentin

"Not even Hilary Swank can save this exercise in genre mediocrity."
2 stars

After production delays (e.g., Hurricanes Katrina and Rita almost two years ago) and several changes to the release date (from last August, then November, and now April), others to the usual dissatisfaction with an early cut of the film, "The Reaping," a supernatural thriller centered on biblical-style plagues, finally makes it to movie theaters, on Good Thursday, a day before Good Friday and three days before Easter, in an obvious attempt to take advantage of the religious mode among believers in the Christian faith. "The Reaping" isn’t going to convert anyone to Christianity or insult moviegoers who also consider themselves Christians. It also won’t do much for horror fans hoping for the adult material promised by the “R” rating.

Katherine Winter (Hilary Swank), a former Christian missionary-turned-professor, has dedicated her life to debunking so-called claims of miracles (she has 48 to her credit) with her assistant, Ben (Idris Elba), an ex-gangbanger turned religious believer and biologist. On a humanitarian and religious mission to the Sudan, Katherine suffered a devastating crisis of faith when she lost both her husband and her daughter. Katherine gets an unwelcome call from a former friend and priest, Father Costigan (Stephen Rea). Father Costigan warns Katherine that something evil is amassing against her, hoping to bring her down due to her lack of faith in a Christian God.

At a lecture she gives on her latest debunking, Katherine notices a stranger, Doug (David Morrissey). Waiting outside the study hall, Doug implores Katherine to return with him to his hometown, Haven, to investigate an apparent series of biblical-style plagues (as in Moses, Exodus, and the Pharaoh of Egypt). Ever skeptical, Katherine only relents when she hears about the first plague, the river has turned red with blood, and the apparent source of the plague, a twelve-year old girl, Loren McConnell (AnnaSophia Robb), who lives on the outskirts of the town in the bayou.

In Haven, Katherine and Ben begin their investigation, but just as they begin taking water samples and collecting dead fish for testing, a rain of frogs showers on them. Still skeptical, Katherine begins to question her (lack of religious) beliefs when the other biblical plagues occur in rapid succession (e.g., insects, diseased or dead livestock, boils). If the plagues occur true to form, Haven will see locusts, darkness, hail mixed with fire, and the death of firstborn. Katherine has to determine whether the plagues are, in fact, supernatural and, if they are, who or what is behind them (e.g., God, Satan, Satan worshippers) all while facing the prospect of putting Loren in harm’s way if she’s a harbinger of evil and not good.

Directed by Stephen Hopkins (The Life and Death of Peter Sellers, Under Suspicion, Lost in Space, The Ghost and the Darkness, Blown Away, Judgment Night, Predator 2) from a screenplay by Carey Hayes and Chad Hayes (the House of Wax remake), The Reaping is everything we’ve seen before in contemporary supernatural thrillers, including the preternatural child who may (or may not) be what she appears to be, a self-flagellating protagonist in mid-personal trauma, impressive set pieces heavy on digital effects, and, if we're lucky, explicit violence and gore mixed in their religious symbolism and iconography. The screenwriters took a cue from Cecil DeMille's campy celebration of Technicolor religiosity, The Ten Commandments, and touched it up with plot elements “borrowed” from Roman Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby and Richard Donner’s The Omen, horror classics both.

Unfortunately, borrowing so openly from Rosemary’s Baby and The Omen is a sure sign screenwriters Carey and Chad Hayes had simply run out of ideas when it came to finding an adequate solution to the mystery at the center of The Reaping. It doesn’t help that the “hidden antagonist” manipulating Katherine, Ben, and possibly the entire town, is obvious early on and that he (or she) does nothing to suggest otherwise. It also doesn’t help that we know going in that no mainstream Hollywood film, in the horror genre or otherwise, would actually go through with The Omen-style choice Katherine is forced to make in the penultimate scene.

"The Reaping’s" believability isn’t helped by an exchange between characters where they both acknowledge the ridiculousness of their predicament (and that’s only halfway through an increasingly contrived, muddled storyline that goes exactly where we expect it to go). And did we need a regressive, retrogressive storyline where the expendable sidekick, Ben, is African-American and, of course, any romantic possibility between Ben and Katherine is repeatedly declared off limits? Apparently, "The Reaping’s" producer, Joel Silver ("The Matrix" trilogy), certainly thought so. We, of course, can think otherwise.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=15612&reviewer=402
originally posted: 04/05/07 03:50:22
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User Comments

10/17/17 brian Rational explanations don't mean God didn't do it. But He didn't do THIS. 3 stars
9/13/17 morris campbell no bad 3 stars
9/29/09 matt this movie made absolutely no sense 1 stars
6/09/09 CTT Predictable, lowbrow horror 2 stars
10/01/08 Rene I liked the movie, you should think before you act! 5 stars
8/26/08 Shaun Wallner Great Horror film!! 5 stars
5/02/08 Patrice Liked the movie..loved the windchimes. How can I get one? 5 stars
4/10/08 Holli I'm trying to find the whale wind chime..loved the movie. 5 stars
11/10/07 Suze Love the wind chimes! Not the best movie I've seen but effective for what it was. 4 stars
10/28/07 Pam Enjoyed the movie- very creepy- cool old house & I want the fulgurite chimes. 4 stars
10/22/07 Daniel found it to be spiritually conflicting and the science of it was aloofing 4 stars
10/19/07 David L. Stone I WANT TO KNOW WHERE I CAN GET THE WIND CHIME!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
10/19/07 action movie fan could have been better steals too much from the ten commandments--weak movie 2 stars
10/17/07 Pamela The chimes are made of FULGURITES and prisms. You have to make them yourself. 4 stars
10/15/07 Beau Pretty freaky if your religious! its a dark develish film which really scared me, spiritual 3 stars
10/09/07 L Cole Movie sucked.Llooking to buy wind chimes also.Not found on ebay. Any suggestions? 1 stars
9/24/07 Hey Amanda! Amanda, the chimes are made of Fulgurite. You can buy it on ebay. 4 stars
6/18/07 Valerie Carmichael Yep, Stephanie, Hilary Swan could make taking a dump a class act, but THIS is STILL garbage 1 stars
6/14/07 Vincent Ebriega B-apocalypse film that didn't scare me that much, but it's tolerable and watchable. 3.5/5 3 stars
6/08/07 Stephanie Throckmorton What to say?? - Hilary Swank can be a class act even when given garbage to work with. 1 stars
6/08/07 Ruby Spinel Was Lauren an angel or a demon? Never mind - she isn't credible as either! 1 stars
5/16/07 Lane It was much better than I had expected. Wind chimes, where can I get? Please tell me. tks 5 stars
5/05/07 topebrown7 The movie was a seious dissapointment can't believe i spent over an hour of my life 1 stars
4/30/07 i don't like you america sucks, religion sucks, and you're all fucking idiots! 1 stars
4/27/07 Jennifer best part of that movie was the chimes, second on wanting to know where to get those chimes 1 stars
4/25/07 Amanda I WANT TO KNOW WHERE I CAN GET THE WIND CHIME!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
4/22/07 Kylekylester FX are pretty good, script's got the right dose of smartness & reflection; effective scares 3 stars
4/22/07 victoria i really didint like it and some parts i didnt understand , like why kill the girl? 2 stars
4/18/07 The Critic This movie was good this article over exagerates and the author should be shot 5 stars
4/13/07 Douglas movie is weak.But there are many scientists who are ministers 2 stars
4/09/07 Ole Man Bourbon Michael Bay's "The Exorcist." 1 stars
4/07/07 Meagan I liked it for the most part... 4 stars
4/06/07 the wizz um...wow... what a terrible way to spend a movie budget! 2 stars
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  05-Apr-2007 (R)
  DVD: 16-Oct-2007



Directed by
  Stephen Hopkins

Written by
  Chad Hayes
  Carey W. Hayes

  Hilary Swank
  David Morrissey
  Idris Elba
  Annasophia Robb

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