The Reaping Stephen Hopkins

The Reaping Stephen Hopkins

River of blood? Check. Creepy little girl? Check. Mysterious backwater town with secretive religious zealots? Check. Looks like we have ourselves a biblical horror thriller! Hilary Swank does her duty as a former Christian missionary turned scientific analyst for all things miraculous. Haunted by the loss of her daughter, Swank’s Katherine Winter is drawn to investigate mysterious phenomena resembling biblical plagues happening in a rural town after the mysterious events are blamed on a young girl. An educated sceptic, Katherine has explanations for each of the ten plagues in a sensible sequence, the science of which is the film’s most fascinating element (and is thankfully explored in greater detail in the DVD’s most engrossing special feature). With this foot firmly planted in reality, there are menace and mystery to the story. The plot begins getting bogged down by inexplicable and predictable supernatural plot twists involving prophecies, Satanism and a red herring or two, which flop around rather limply. Visually, The Reaping is quite appealing, with highly stylised visions and increasing apocalyptic destruction. Swank is as solid as ever, trying to keep the bits of ridiculousness grounded but the script, and editing, never allows her transition from hard sceptic to believer to feel natural. "The Science of the Ten Plagues” is the aforementioned special feature worth more to the inquisitive mind than the film and "A Place Called Haven” is a feature on location scouting, revealing the hardships of working through hurricane Katrina, continuing with production while crew members were losing their homes. "The Characters” is a standard set of cast interviews, while "The Seventh Plague” is a short clip of Swank’s co-star Idris Elba getting grossed out by the film’s assistant director holding a live locust in his mouth. If only the film was that creepy. (Warner)