Horror movies with religious themes usually focus on either exorcisms or devil children. So, in this saturated subgenre, the movie we’re going to be talking about today took a different route. The Reaping is a solid horror movie featuring excellent special effects, a familiar cast, and a bit wobbly story. It’s one of those fire-and-forget movies worth watching once every fifteen years. We’ll be following two professional debunkers who go to Louisiana to investigate a series of strange occurrences. Occurrences that feel eerily similar to Ten Biblical Plagues.
The Reaping feels like it was made in the nineties when movies like this were all the rage. Like End of Days, but with a female protagonist. Or Stigmata without the scary stuff. Hilary Swank was great along with charming Idris Elba and dependable Stephen Rea. They’re all great actors and to demonstrate that, they needed a better script. Don’t get me wrong, this one’s perfectly good for what the movie is trying to achieve. And I would hazard to guess that is to make you forget about your hangover and distract you for ninety minutes with its dazzling special effects.
I have to say that seeing swarms of locusts and other weird shit felt exciting. Religious horror movies hit everyone differently and I’m sure that for some this is going to be a bit traumatic experience. Even nightmarish if you’re willing to suspend your belief. There are no explicitly scary scenes but the atmosphere is really intense and suspenseful. And the Louisiana setting was also excellent, making me think of a much better occult thriller, Angel Heart.
Kathrene and Ben are investigators of the paranormal. They specialize in debunking religious miracles and their latest assignment took them to Chile. A priest’s body seems to be preserved in pristine condition after his death and they soon discover that the reason behind this is a toxin. However, their next case proves to be much more difficult. It starts with a river turned completely red…
The concept of paranormal investigators debunking myths reminded me of James Randy (check out An Honest Liar), a magician who then started demonstrating techniques used by both religious organizations and hustlers for money or influence from their followers. Red Lights, a movie shot five years later also features a similar storyline. In the end, there’s not much more to say about this one. The Reaping is another Dark Castle Entertainment production and if you like their movies, you’re going to like this one too.
It’s like they were going down the list of familiar horror themes and plagues were simply the next item on the list. Kind of like when they got to the ghosts and we got Thirteen Ghosts, a commercial and visually impressive distraction. I’m sorry, it’s not Thirteen but Thir13en Ghosts.
Director: Stephen Hopkins
Writers: Carey W. Hayes, Chad Hayes, Brian Rousso
Cast: Hilary Swank, David Morrissey, Stephen Rea, David Jensen, Burgess Jenkinsm Jillian Batherson
Fun Facts: Hurricane Katrina halted the production for quite some time.