Trivia The 10 plagues from the Bible are: river and water sources turn to blood, amphibians (commonly believed to be frogs), Gnats, Flies, disease on livestock, unhealable boils, hail mixed with fire, locusts, darkness and death of the firstborn.
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The Reaping (2007)
28th Apr 07
Double Oscar winner Hilary Swank plays Katherine Winter, a former Christian missionary now college professor, who has not only lost her faith – a standard for such films – but now makes a habit of going around debunking apparent religious signs or phenomena.
This brings her to the attention of Doug Blackwell (David Morrissey, fresh from dodgy old bonk-fest Basic Instinct 2), whom wants her to venture to his neck of the woods in Haven, Louisana and investigate some spooky old goings-on apparently caused by a young girl. With her assistant Ben (Idris Elba) in tow Katherine discovers that the river of blood she has come to look at is just the beginning of things!
Anything that normally rolls before director Stephen Hopkins’ camera, with the exception of his rather compelling The Life and Death of Peter Sellers, is normally for want of a better word pants. Cast your mind back to genre disasters Predator 2 or ‘shudder’ A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Dream Child to guage what I mean about the man’s dodgy CV to date.
With that in mind, approaching his religious-themed horror The Reaping was an act of some courage and much strong lager so whether or not the surprising three star rating below was indeed affected by six pints of the lager known as Stella is out for debate. If you were to go by the box office reaction in the States – just $22million from a $100million budget – you may consider that yes perhaps the drink did have a say.
Stephen Rea turns up as a friend and former colleague of Katherine’s in a largely characterless role that's sole purpose is to remind audiences that our lead has a past that still haunts her now and give the odd detail to move the story along. AnnaSophia Robb, Violet in Tim Burton's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is startlingly well cast as a possible demonic force in the form of a young girl.
The climax – starting with a plague of locusts and topping off with apocalyptic bolts of lightning - is terrifically visual but let down slightly when the big reveal feels like a Wicker Man rip-off. And when it comes to discovering who the bad guy really is it's not that much of a surprise. In fact you'll probably guess who it is just ten minutes in but it's fun finding out later on that you have guessed right just from the point of view of liking being right.
Overall, The Reaping is a Saturday night rental that is as much a guilty pleasure as the similarly critically derided Demi Moore flick The Seventh Sign and this is a far better demonic kiddie flick than last year's gutless and unnecessary Omen remake.