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The Reaping

The reaping – the 10 biblical plagues placed in the swamp of Louisiana

This is a movie playing with ancient prophecies or stories from the book of Exodus where God sent the plagues upon Egypt to get the pharaoh to let the Israelite slaves leave Egypt. Successful? Well …

It all starts with introducing us to Katherine Winter (Hilary Swank), a former missionary working in Sudan, with a sad ending – now a college professor teaching and investigating religious phenomena – who reveals the rational logic of a plague thought to be religious. But it all comes down to toxic waste polluting the water making the people sick.

Then she and her partner Ben (Idris Elba) are invited to the city of Haven in Louisiana where a small girl is accused of bringing plagues upon the city, the first one is the river turning red.

They arrive and start their investigation and the second plague occurs, it rains frogs in the swamps. Then we get lice, livestock going crazy, an invasion by grasshoppers, fire and darkness. And the girl seems more and more creepy and involved in the plagues occurring. Katherine is also contacted by a former colleague from the mission who gets a sign he believes indicates contact with the devil. We get some info about a cult worshiping the devil and some fragments about the second born in a specific bloodline being in contact with Satan. The stuff about this cult was the part of the story where I couldn’t connect the dots. Vaguely told and poor summoned in the end of the story.

Several times during the story we get glimpses into the history of Katherine (Swanks character) and these glimpses are well integrated into the creepy and supernatural mood of the film. She has brought her own demons with her from Africa where her daughter was killed. Like in most creepy horror and thriller movies there are a lot of dark hallways, doors closing by themselves and several mobiles of glass spinning and making noise. The swamps of Haven, Louisiana also provides mandatory creepy and disgusting swamp scenes.

I found the film both creepy and engaging, I was disgusted by the plagues haunting haven. I felt with Katherine. And I bought the story. But like in most good thriller and horror movies there are some twists, often at the end. So here as well. I won’t reveal the twist, but there are some twists and turns that made me jump in my chair.

The film has its portions of surprises and thriller effects. What’s missing is the clear connection between the hints of the plagues and the connection to the devil’s bloodline. These aspects could be more specific and better integrated in the film.

Extras

Science of the 10 plagues
This is a scientific examination of the bible, epidemiologists explains how these plagues could have developed naturally and de-mystifies the plagues, just like Katherine from the movie would have. The plagues took place in Egypt, and could be started by an eruption on Santorini, which seems to have taken place.

The characters
This part introduces us to the different characters of the story, among these the distant priest who was done by Stephen Rea. Here we get the actors telling about how interesting their characters are and so on. Blah blah blah, interesting characters because of blah blah. Boring! Only the few comments from the little girl was fun to listen to in this part.

A place called Haven
Tells the story of the place where the movie takes place – a small town in the swamps of Louisiana. Interesting to hear how they work with finding the right houses and locations. Also something about the Louisiana area after the hurricanes, and making the movie here as some sort of contribution to the area and recognition to the people of Louisiana.

The Reaping
This part presents The Seventh Plague; The Creepy Bugs – grasshoppers – that floods Haven. And there are a few of them … This is the special effects part, not that engaging really.

I found the extras to this film of the most interesting ones I have spent time on. Especially the science of the 10 plagues was informative. The one about the characters was the most boring one. If they can’t make us believe in the characters during the film and get to know them well enough through the story line, I am not interested to hear the actors try to convince me afterwards how brilliant they are.

All in all I found this DVD – although it is well produced and put together – as a few hours well spent together with a creepy story from the swamps. A more engaged Hilary Swank, the story more tightened and the idea of the plagues better integrated in the story and I would have been more pleased.

Hiro – not a fan of grasshoppers after this

Movie facts

Title: The reaping

Director; Stephen Hopkins

With Hilary Swank, David Morissey, Idris Elba, AnnaSophia Robb, Stephen Rea

Producing company; Warner Brothers

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