The Reaping (15)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner18/04/2007

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 99 mins

The Reaping is frequently silly, occasionally cliched and slow to get going, but the acting is good and it rallies for an impressive climax.

What's it all about?
Hilary Swank stars as Katherine Winter, an ex-minister turned college professor who specialises in debunking supposed miracles with cold, hard scientific fact, Agent Scully-style. When schoolteacher Doug Blackwell (David Morrissey, sporting an unusual accent) asks her to investigate the blood-red river in his backwater town of Haven, Louisiana, Katherine agrees, accompanied by her partner Ben (Idris Elba).

However, Katherine discovers that the townsfolk believe a young girl (AnnaSophia Robb, channelling Dakota Fanning) has brought the wrath of God down on the town and are experiencing a series of ten biblical plagues as a result. Naturally, Katherine is sceptical but when the frogs, boils and locusts start arriving, her practical nature is sorely tested.

The Good
The performances are good, with AnnaSophia Robb exhibiting a genuinely creepy screen presence with hardly any dialogue and Swank having the good grace to treat the film with more seriousness than it probably deserves. Morrissey is miscast but he still lends a suitably ambiguous note to his character, whilst Elba (also British but doing better with the accent) provides solid support as Ben.

In addition, the effects are excellent and from the jaw-dropping locusts scene onwards, the film rallies for an exciting final act that is, quite literally, awe-inspiring.

The Bad
The Reaping is rife with cheesy dialogue and characters doing the sort of stupid things that people only ever do in horror movies. Similarly, the plot takes ages to really get going and the earlier plagues are badly handled. Essentially, the film could have used more frogs and boils and at least one of the plagues (hail) doesn't even show up.

Worth seeing?
The Reaping isn't quite as good as it could have been, but as cheesy supernatural thrillers go, it's entirely watchable and worth seeing for the impressive finale.

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The Reaping (15)
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Content updated: 18/12/2017 22:13

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