The death of a child in mysterious circumstances sparks a series of events that seem to represent biblical plagues, which start occurring in, of all places, a town called "Haven" that is located deep in the bowels of Bible belt country in the bayous of Louisiana. A former Christian missionary turned religious phenomena debunker and her top open minded student turned personal assistant are sent to investigate. Written by
The video camera carried by Ben while boating on the bloody river is a JVC HD-GR1, one of the earliest "pro-sumer" grade Hi-Def video cameras. See more »
Katherine refers to the country of Sudan as "The Sudan." Since she is a missionary and a professor at a major university, it is unlikely that she would make that mistake. See more »
[after Katherine wakes up]
Morning. Sleep at all last night?
Yeah. Where are we?
Far enough that all I'm getting is this guy.
[tunes the radio and a song plays that's apparently supposed to be crummy]
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The opening logos are unique and blend into one another: a red Warner Bros. logo crumbles into dust to reveal a pink-tinted Village Roadshow Pictures logo, which in turn is obscured by clouds that part to reveal the Dark Castle Entertainment logo. See more »
Katherine Winter (Hilary Swank), some sort of scientist, is called to a Southern town to explain the onset of their rivers turning into what looks like blood. Although Winter is not religious (she has a very interesting theory about the ten plagues of Egypt that I found fascinating) she starts to become involved in a Biblical scenario anyway when the ten plagues happen one by one.
I remember seeing the trailer for this in the theater and saying to myself how awful this looked. Just really boring and starring Swank, who I have little or no use for. Even the name "The Reaping" I found weak, thinking it could sell more with a death metal name like "Death to the First Born". But, I am pleased to say whatever I thought of the trailer, the actual film was far more enjoyable and while nothing really mind-blowing, it definitely met my needs for a horror film.
Any time you have ten plagues visiting a town, you have a good plot already made out for you -- frogs, blood, insects and more! This story also throws in a crazy religious sect and a town secret, so if you're into cult movies (literally) you will enjoy this more. The plagues, I must say, were done very well -- from the beginning with the river of blood, I felt this film had a good shot of being a winner. I was quite disappointed with the locusts (I can let the fact they're computerized slide, but the animator made it too obvious). Other than that, it's alright...
I guess my only other concern (this is a straight-forward film, so there's not much to discuss) is the religious aspect. Religion and horror go hand in hand. There's the running themes of Christianity actually working (such as "The Exorcist"), Jesus or God being dead ("Hellraiser" and perhaps "30 Days of Night") and your religious fanatics who take God's word in a very bad way.
This film does a mixture of the first and third, and I'm not sure if I really think it works. I mean, it works for the film, but it may not work for me -- you have a horror movie that seems to have the subtle intention of making the viewer believe in God (because an atheist faces God-given plagues). Yet, you have the God in this film being a very unlikable agent (because of the plagues). So, it leaves you with very mixed feelings on whether this is a pro- or anti-religion film. But maybe the less than crystal plot is a good thing.
Anyway, while I had my doubts and I have my concerns and it's not the movie of the year by any means... this is still a good film. I think you'll be pleased with what you see. Talking with others who have seen this one, it seems to get a similar reaction from them: a disposable, yet not worthless, religious-themed horror film. If you've been curious, give it a spin.
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