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Well I'm shocked-this is a pretty good little thriller.
Hillary Swank is an ex-missionary turned scientist and debunker, she's called into investigate a small town in the deep South where the river has turned red or as some suspect to blood. this is followed in close order by other Biblical plagues. They all seem to to be tied to a young girl living in the woods.
Creepy little movie thats better than many recent Bible thrillers. Here we start off with science and find as time goes on that it can't explain whats going on. well acted with a couple of nice set pieces this is a movie that works mostly by simple visualization, we see a red river, we see flies, we see frogs. except for a plague of locusts and some fire in the sky what we see out side of dreams is all simple effects given weight by the sincerity of the script and the performances. This is a film where the classic idea of its all better in the mind works to great effect with just a small push.
Is it a great film? No, but its a good one. Its the sort of thing you sit and watch on a Saturday night with a big bag of popcorn and a soda. Is it worth paying ten bucks in the theater for? I doubt it but on a rainy Sunday afternoon it may fit the bill on the bargain priced matinée. (Certainly worth a rental) Somewhere between six and seven out of ten.
Just got back from seeing The Reaping and I must say it was better than I expected. After reading the critics reviews and reading a majority of the user comments I thought this movie was going to be a real dog. One of the complaints was about the poor special effects. I've never been too impressed with CGI in the first place, but this was as good as any I've seen lately. It has never looked real to me in any movie. As far as the storyline not being original, what film has been original in the last few years. There has been so many movies made in the last 80 years or so that it's gotta be difficult to come up with a never used theme at this point. I also believe when you have an actor the caliber of Hilary Swank in a movie they are held to a higher standard and are thusly criticized more harshly than others if their movies aren't stellar. Give this one a try and judge for yourself.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Are you in the mood for an entertaining, intense supernatural thriller
with religious themes featuring an Oscar winner who faces a crisis of
faith? Well, good news - Signs is currently on DVD. However, if you're
looking for that in The Reaping then you might want to go ahead and
lower those expectations and prepare to not be blown away.
Responding in a post-screening interview to the movie's tagline ("What hath God wrought?"), God emphatically declared, "Oh, I wrought the 10 plagues in the Old Testament, all right, but you ain't laying this on me!"
I've decided that "it somewhat kept my interest" is no longer excuse enough for me to give a thriller of this nature a passing grade. Slow-paced, non-scary, and convolutedly confusing to a fault (due to Swank's inexplicable "visions"), The Reaping takes the potential of applying a Biblical story in modern times and wastes it with a pedestrian effort that offers nothing new or original to the genre.
Admittedly, some of the special effects showcasing the plagues are visually interesting, and the atmosphere is appropriately dark, but unfortunately, there is no effort to combine emotional impact with the CGI. Rather than disturb audiences with a little eye-covering, skin-crawling aftermath of the plagues, the movie is content to just check 'em off the list. "Drop some frogs into the bloody river!" "Done." "Good, what's next?" "Flies?" "Bring it! We've got eight to go and only 60 minutes left to do it in!"
Consequently, this inability to dig beneath the surface of its visuals is what detached my interest. In other words, the film just didn't grab me. Some strange dude in the seat behind me did, but that's a whole other level of disturbing. I was never scared, I only felt brief moments of tension, and I felt not a single iota of interest in any of the characters. Come on, guys, give me an incentive to care!
You can't even bother to provide a handful of pandering-yet-effective jump scenes? Where's the excitement? Where's the intrigue? Where's the foreboding fear? I just sat there waiting for something ... ANYTHING ... to happen, and a climax filled with a transparent plot twist and Shyamalan-esquire "hey, here's what was really happening!" flashbacks doesn't count.
Close out the festivities with a groan-inducing "oh great, there's gonna be a sequel" final scene, and I'm totally left without a single compelling reason to recommend this even to the most hardcore fans of the genre. Thanks for flippin' us the bird, filmmakers, we really appreciate it.
The Reaping is very lucky to make it to theaters. It's a Mary Stuart Masterson-for-Hilary Swank substitution away from premiering on Lifetime. If I were you then that's where I'd wait to see it.
The Reaping is a simple story about a woman with lost faith who is forced to confront an age-old cult and all the plot conveniences and contrivances that come along with that. It fails to capitalize on its potential, thus failing to make this anything more worthy than a rainy day rental.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Watching two Hilary Swank movies back to back, I thought it presented a
good opportunity to see how the same actress tackles different roles,
one a dramatic piece about life's lessons, and the other this, The
Reaping, taking on some supernatural forces, although she almost
started this movie in a lecture hall premise.
I don't exactly label The Reaping as horror, because it doesn't have a single scene that can truly scare anyone, unless of course your heart's weaker than a chicken's. The structure is akin to Silent Hill, only that The Reaping is not adapted from a video game. But unlike Hill, this movie is pretty compact in its pacing, and doesn't drag scenes for too long to create atmospheric mood like its peer. Instead, if compared to Silent Hill, this is one Noisy Swamp.
Hilary Swank plays a researcher who specializes in debunking biblical sightings and miracles by using science to demystify such phenomena. Listening to her rip the miracles and happenings apart however, was fun, nevermind if it sounded logical or not, since it's Swank, who managed to make the unbelievable, believable in the movie. But that's not to say that she did a fantastic job here, in a role that's largely wasted. If you want to see her act, check out Freedom Writers instead.
But I digress. The Reaping's Dana Scully and Fox Mulder equivalents go into investigating a series of bizarre biblical occurrence, the Ten Biblical Plagues, ranging from the blood waters, attacking locusts right down to the last one - the death of every first born. Some may not like the hokey plot taking advantage of God's wrath on man, but as the movie turned out, it's nothing more than a special effects extravaganza, with the religious fervour added to the background and contributing some semblance for a plot to work.
It's hip these days to have demonic children as part of the ensemble, and The Reaping has this mysterious girl who seemingly is the cause of God's Wrath. Or is it? There's a little mystery to solve, with a couple of twists at the end, in a tale about the devil and avenging angels. And while the end does wrap things up, it leaves room for a possible sequel, should the movie do well at the box office.
The only redeeming grace from the uninspiring, unscary story, is the special effects. Nothing more, nothing less, and nothing to scare your socks off, despite what the trailer and posters suggest.
My main question: who is this movie aimed at? Any non-theist will find
it laughable and stupid, but it's not exactly doing people of faith any
favors either with its groundbreaking "God is evil" message. In it we
find out that, due to the expansion of the human race, God no longer
has the resources to keep humanity in line, so he spends his time
pranking tiny hick towns out of boredom. For Haven, Louisiana, he has
decided to bring back his original 10 plagues, only it turns out that
what was once looked upon as phenomenal power is quite lame by
contemporary standards. First he turns a two-mile stretch of river into
blood, then drops about a dozen frogs into it. Having failed to
terrorize the nonbelievers yet, he waits until they are about to eat
dinner and then fills their barbecue grill with flies. OH SH*T, FLIES!
DINNER WILL BE POSTPONED! The plagues continue on in this retarded
fashion until Hilary Swank... okay, she really has nothing to do with
it, the plagues just continue on to #10 and then stop. Louisiana: you
have been plagued. Oh, wait: she believes now. Apparently God's goal in
this movie was to give Hilary Swank her faith back by wiping out a
random town. I'm not kidding. If anything could possibly make God look
worse than he already does in the Old Testament, this movie has done
it. It has also continued the mythical Hollywood view of atheism as
some sort of mental health problem. For some reason, every atheist
character in a mainstream movie has become that way because of some
tragic personal event (in this case, her entire family getting
slaughtered), like atheism is the equivalent of post-traumatic stress
The only thing I wish to add about this idiotic movie is that David Morrissey's accent is the funniest thing I have ever heard. It reminds me of something, but I don't know what. The best I can come up with is Bruce Campbell playing Elvis Presley, but I know that's not right. Please, someone rent this thing and tell me who he sounds like, because it's keeping me up at night.
I'll give this an extra star for some nifty special effects at the end.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
There are remnants of a good movie in 'The Reaping', but those are lost
in a muddled sea of clichés and plagiarism. Hilary Swank is completely
blameless, and a dominant first half is entertaining and mysterious.
But with every increasing step it takes, 'The Reaping' descends further
into self-parody and ridiculous gimmicks. Yet all these mistakes pale
in comparison to the ultimate blasphemy this religious thriller makes,
when it rips off one of the greatest psychological thrillers of all
A former ordained minister who lost her faith during a mission trip to the Sudan, Louisiana State University professor Katherine Winter now dedicates herself to investigating and disproving religious phenomena. But when a small parish comes to her for help in studying strange occurrences in their little community, it will take Winters on her most challenging and disturbing investigation yet. Water turned into blood, death of cattle, locusts, etc. What began as a mission to debunk what appears to be the ten Biblical plagues will become something much more dangerous when whispers of a secret Satanic society and demon girl arise.
I'd be remiss if I said I wasn't thoroughly entertained throughout the screening of 'The Reaping'. It may not have always been for the right reasons, but it no doubt kept my eyes and mind alert. The film's first half is vastly superior to what follows, and is actually fairly decent. The mood is set, the landscape is creepily effective, and the mysterious occurrences are still fresh and interesting. But I realized that the film suffers when things actually begin to happen, when the plot actually begins to take form. If the film's first 40 minutes is to establishing setting and suspense, the latter half is to ridiculous rubbish. It becomes more and more comical, often during very inappropriate moments. The highly advertised locust attack is cartoonish and laughable at best, and it isn't long until 'The Reaping' begins to borrow rather liberally from older, and much better, religious thrillers. A little from 'The Exorcist', 'Rosemary's Baby', 'The Omen', and probably even more. We shouldn't be too surprised, and all can be forgiven until 'Reaping' commits a much more criminal offense, a plot twist which is frighteningly identical to a horror classic. That seals the deal for this film's fate, something that I cannot forgive.
It might surprise many that two-time Oscar winner Hilary Swank would allow herself to be seen in such a movie, but in actuality, Swank is the best thing 'The Reaping' has to offer. Granted, she doesn't have a great deal to work with, but she does fine with what she's given. It's far from her best work, and I could tell that her heart wasn't completely in this project, but who could blame her? It was probably too late when she realized exactly what she'd gotten herself into. She tries to appear interested and as if she's actually enjoying herself, and it shows. Unfortunately, it's not enough to save the rest of the picture. Idris Elba is fine but stiff as Swank's counterpart throughout the ordeal, and David Morrissey just seems awkward as the character who initiates Swank's involvement in the case. Young AnnaSophia Robb is showcased as the film's 'demon child', and is sorely underused. Her only lines come at the end of the film, and it only makes you wish she had a much more vocal role throughout.
In the end, 'The Reaping' amounts to little more than a hokey and gimmicky religious thriller. Those familiar to the genre will find the scares predictable and obvious, and the recycled plot twists are derivative and tiresome. As I said, 'The Reaping' is entertaining and at times even a good movie, but it's sacrificed for another by-the-numbers addition to an already exhausted genre. Skip this nonsense and see the classics, which 'The Reaping' borrows from shamelessly. That's the only true plague this misbegotten film is afflicted with.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Ten Biblical Plagues, a former Christian missionary who lost faith in
God and science vs religion. These do make a good idea for a movie and
what better than to have Hilary Swank in it. To make things more
interesting, the Ten Biblical Plagues actually led to the parting of
the Red Sea and the Ten Commandments according to religion.
Incidentally The Reaping makes its opening day on the 5th of April
which coincided with what is know as the last of the Ten Biblical
Plague, "Death of the First Born", which occurred on April 2nd and is
celebrated every year to commemorate the exodus of the Israelites from
In The Reaping, former Christian missionary, Katherine (Hilary Swank) began the movie by dismissing 48 miracles or religious signs to logical scientific explanations. Why would someone who formerly believed in God do that?
Just as it appears that miracles are nothing but unexplained and misunderstood happenings preying on the minds of men, a sign or a message appeared. Was it for real or hoax?
Then a man from a religious small town came looking for Katherine seeking help. A boy died and their river turned red. Could it be the beginning of another Ten Biblical Plagues? And who is the mysterious little girl involved in all these?
Supernatural, horror, suspense and thriller make up The Reaping. In typical genre fashion, we follow Katherine (Hilary Swank) to uncover what is really going on. Could science overcome religion this time? As the story unfolds with religious references, scientific assumptions and the plagues happening one by one, it became a situational mental tug-of-war. Katherine's beliefs are challenged.
Fans of the genre will either like or dislike movie like this. It's hard to come to an in between conclusion, although it is usually what this sort of film wants, personal discretion. It is best to have an open mind to expect the unexpected and not to be too smart by focusing your attention to your assumptions instead. Waiting for that one gruesome scene? Waiting for a really scary moment? Or waiting for one breakthrough surprising moment?
Be careful of where those intentions lie, for you may just miss the plot too early too soon. The Reaping actually scores low on the scare factor although it has elements of horror through some louder scenes and clever camera tricks. What it does instead is to challenge your beliefs since it is religiously themed. The story follows Katherine so be Katherine. You have a choice of either debunking what you see with critical analysis or let the story takes you where it wants you to go with what it wants you to see. That is how a supernatural, horror, suspense, thriller works.
This movie probably won't blow your mind away but it is enjoyable. The cast is good with Hilary Swank as the lead, AnnaSophia Robb is the mysterious girl, David Morrissey's role is convincing, and Idris Elba and Stephen Rea did sufficiently well in support. Director Stephen Hopkins could have made this film more spectacular and lengthen the 90 minutes though. Catch the film late at night for it adds to the experience.
Overall, The Reaping is interesting but where your own interest lies otherwise is totally up to your beliefs, as what to this movie speaks.
After all, you reap what you sow. Be warned.
THE REAPING:Warner Bros./Dark Castle/Village Roadshow 2007 color 99 m
Horror-Thriller Hilary Swak, Stephen Rea, Anna Sophia Robb, Idris Elba
and David Morrisey star. Written by Carey and chad hayes Directed by
Stephen Hopkins Rated R for strong language, violence, gore and
I'm not quite sure why Warner shelved this film for so long. That said The Reaping is one of the most original horror films in years and packs a surprising punch in its finale. Hilary Swank stars as Katherine Winter a woman who debunks supposed miracles all around the world. After hearing about a town being infected with the biblical plagues she comes over to scientifically explain the strange events. But as she is drawn into the mystery of the town, its people and a mysterious little girl secrets are revealed as the apocalypse draws near. And there's a lot more going on than that. The film is extremely complex and multi layered, it's chaotic and even a bit confusing at times but when the final revelations come together it's well worth your thought process. Swank is of course sensational in the lead she gives Katherine an heir of disbelief and confidence. Her swagger alone carries the film through it's rough patches. Anna Sophia Robb coming off the under rated Bridge to terebithia is wonderfully spooky as the mysterious child and the rest of the cast is filled out nicely by Idris Elba, Stephen Rea and the sexy David Morrisey. The direction from Hopkins is surprisingly unique and inventive that goes as well for the screenplay from the Hayes brothers. The film is far from perfect, the spfx tend to be a bit cheesy and the film seems a little muddled and unfinished in parts. But what the film ultimately succeeds at is in its originality. I've seen a lot of horror films and I've never seen something like this. It's pretty unpredicatable and infinatly interesting. It also is smart and handles it's subject matter surprisingly well playing it straight. The cinematography is complimentary and matches the film it's fills the film with dreamlike arches of landscape and a mood of eminent danger. The score like the recent premonition matches the film chaotically in a weird way making every scene seem much more intense than it actually is. This is a smart movie and has a lot going on it. At 99 mins. it feels a lot longer especially after you've made all of the films discoveries. It's a rare thing these days to be blown away by something so creative, don't miss The Reaping!
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.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The Reaping Staring Hilary Swank is not the worst film I have seen in 2007. Many of the comments on the IMDb boards suggest that this film is terrible, however, it is actually not all that bad. I will agree that the twist at the end of the film is similar to Signs in some aspects, but still, it works for the film. Swank's acting is fairly well done considering most of the characters in the film are slightly 2 dimensonal, if you are looking for extreme depth then you will have to look elsewhere. also if you are looking for an interesting bibilical movie, once again you must look elsewhere. This really is a good "sit down, not really have to think, just enjoy what happens" sort of flick. It's not boring, but it does not require intense concentration. The ending is slightly far-fetched, but in a film about the 10 plagues, it is understandable. all and all, it's worth seeing if you do not have extremely high expectations, and also The Reaping is a movie that might be worth waiting and renting on video, as opposed to seeing in theatres.
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