The Reaping (2007)

1.5-rating[2]   (1.5/5) horror, suspense
Despite my general aversion to horror films, my deep admiration for Hilary Swank compelled me to watch what I expected in advance to be a dog of a film. And a dog it was.

In The Reaping, Hilary plays a previously ordained minister who turned away from the cloth after her daughter was killed in an African mission. She has become a renowned expert at debunking miracles and scientifically explaining away plagues believed to be the work of the devil.

When a boy dies in the bible-belt, a young girl (AnnaSophia Robb), believed by the town-folk to be possessed by the devil, is blamed. Hilary is called in to solve the mystery when the river turns blood-red.

The usual  horror movie devices: sudden movements, loud noises, visions, slow, ponderous, close-in camera shots, things going bump in the night; are predictably trotted out. The plot is surprisingly similar to the absolutely terrific Hot Fuzz (2007). I say ‘surprisingly’ because Hot Fuzz, a comedic action film, is very different from The Reaping.

Reaping 2008 - Hillary Swank and Anna Sophia Robb Hilary provides a decent performance. But, her break-through performance in Boys Don’t Cry (1999) and Oscar winning Million Dollar Baby (2005) performance are far better examples of her exceptional talent.

AnnaSophia Robb’s unexceptional performance is very different from her precocious-child roles in Because of Winn-Dixie (2005) and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005).

The best I can say for The Reaper is that it is far from the worst movie I’ve ever seen. It does have a cool locust invasion scene, the production values are decent and I enjoyed Hilary’s scientific explanations for historical plagues.

Unless you are a died-in-the wool Hilary Swank fan like myself, my advice is to skip this one.

Reference: imdb6  | wikipedia12
Reviews: IMDb External Reviews | Rotten Tomatoes | Metacritic


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