The Reaping

Movies Reviews Hilary Swank
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The Reaping

Director: Stephen Hopkins
Writers: Carey Hayes and Chad Hayes
Cinematographer: Peter Levy
Starring: Hilary Swank, David Morrissey, Idris Elba, AnnaSophia Robb, Stephen Rea
Studio/Running Time: Warner Brothers, 96 mins.

Rosemary’s Baby. The Omen. The Exorcist. If you were to bring in elements from each of these wickedly-supernatural classics and throw in God-induced plagues from The Ten Commandments, you’d think the result would be a popcorn-devouring hit. Unfortunately, as this is the case with The Reaping, more turns out to be decidedly less.

Two-time academy award winner, Hilary Swank (Million Dollar Baby, Boys Don’t Cry), plays university professor/ex-minister-turned-atheist, Katherine Winter, who crusades to disprove so-called miraculous events after the brutal murders of her husband and daughter. The film opens with Winter’s spooky exploration of a Chilean mausoleum where she victoriously “debunks” a community’s most popular miracle.

Later, while back home in Louisiana, she and her ironically devout Christian assistant Ben (Idris Elba) are asked to investigate a river of blood near the small bayou town of Haven where some are saying it’s the return of the ten biblical plagues. Soon, it’s raining frogs and sick cows are attacking automobiles. Flies, maggots, lice, locusts and big, ugly, skin boils convince the townspeople that it’s all the work of a strange, twelve-year-old girl (AnnaSophia Robb) who must be in league with the devil, or who at the very least has been stricken with wide-eyed-vacant-stare syndrome. The failings of The Reaping (e.g., abhorrent dialogue, shabby acting, cheap scares) are too many to mention, but suffice it to say that ten plagues don’t even come close.