Sunday, May 13, 2018

The Reaping

Movie Name: The Reaping
Year of Release: 2007
Director: Stephen Hopkins
Stars: Hilary Swank, David Morrissey, Idris Elba, AnnaSophia Robb, Stephen Rea, William Ragsdale, John McConnell, David Jensen, Samuel Garland, Andrea Frankle, Stuart Greer
Genre: Horror, Thriller
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 2
Watch it on Amazon

Stephen Hopkins made a name for himself as a director when he started in the 80s as one of the director for the "Nightmare on Elm Street" series, rapidly graduating for bigger projects such as "Predator 2" and "Blown Away". "The Reaping" comes from the penmanship of brothers Carey and Chad Hayes, both of whom have achieved recent success as the writers of the "Conjuring" series of films for director James Wan. "The Reaping" follows the story of Katherine, a former ordained minister, and current University lecturer and investigator, who goes around the world debunking miracles. She's called into a small town in the south of the US, when the river surrounding that city turns red, and all the fish show up dead. When Katherine and her colleague Ben show up at that small town, they are happily greeted by everyone, particularly by Doug and the city officials. As the strange occurrences pile up, Katherine is informed that all of that is created by a young girl by the name of Loren, who supposedly has demonic powers. As Katherine and Ben probe deeper, they come to realize that not all is what it seems.
"The Reaping" has an interesting premise: a fallen from belief central hero, who goes around debunking miracles. What could have been a really interesting premise however gets cheapened in the worst sense very quickly. Whereas James Wan has managed to create with both the "Insidious" and "Conjuring" franchises, horror staples based on imagination and suggestion, with scarcely much in terms of gratuitous shock or gore, Stephen Hopkins goes in a complete opposite direction. This film reads as if someone looked at the script, and debated: how can we make everything scarier, louder and more intense (and garish). The solution to that question, can be found in the film with the typical camera angles and shots, the spooky lake, the dark cemetery - it's a cliche ridden of what gothic styling should be. It's a sad waste of talent, since the film has a great cast, and a terrific production team, but the overall experience comes across as a bad tv film made for the CW. It's a pass, with only the young AnnaSophia Robb creating an interesting presence.