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  Publicity Stills of "The Reaping"
(Courtesy from GV)

Genre: Suspense/Thriller
Director: Stephen Hopkins
Cast: Hilary Swank, David Morrissey, Idris Elba, AnnaSophia Robb, Stephen Rea
RunTime: 1 hr 39 mins
Released By: GVP
Rating: M18 (Sexual Scene)
Official Website: www.thereapingmovie.com

Opening Day: 5 April 2007

Synopsis :

Hilary Swank plays a former Christian missionary who lost her faith after her family was tragically killed, and has since become a world-renowned expert in disproving religious phenomena. But when she investigates a small Louisiana town that is suffering from what appear to be the Biblical plagues, she realizes that science cannot explain what is happening and she must regain her faith to combat dark forces threatening the community.

Movie Review:

I do not know what nice people like Halle Berry and Hilary Swank (at least they look like friendly people on magazines to me) have done to deserve this, but after bringing home the Oscar Best Actress statuettes, they have to go on to star in duds. Yes, while Berry had her share of shame in Catwoman, Swank can now understand her pain by starring in this terrible movie that critics love to hate.

Swank plays a former Catholic missionary who lost her faith after losing her daughter and husband to indigenous folks who blamed them for a terrible drought. Years later, her beliefs are tested when the death of a child in a remote town leads to a religious phenomena which involves a bloody river, lots of bugs and a creepy little girl played by AnnaSophia Robb (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Bridge to Terabithia).

Admittedly, I have never been a fan of such genre, because the absurd and bizarre plots often leave me bemused, or at best, amused. So when I knew that Swank was in this movie, I thought there would be a slim chance that she would be the saving grace of the horror thriller. But nope, the 99-minute movie turned out to be a palette of cheap scares, loud sound effects and silly characterizations that may just leave you yawning half an hour into the movie. The pace drags along with predictable and banal plot developments, and uninspired acting by Swank’s fellow cast members David Morrissey (Basic Instinct 2) and Idris Elba (28 Weeks Later). Come on, when you see a scene where Morrissey and Swank get hot and bothered under the sheets, and all you can think about is the dinner you just gulped down, something must be terribly wrong here.

It doesn’t help that the movie touches on biblical themes, which will probably turn off the truly religious viewers. And let’s not even talk about the ridiculous finale, which had me rolling my eyes the moment the movie tried to intrigue me with a eerily disturbing open ending. Just like how I wonder how a nice girl like Swank has done to deserve all the flak for starring in this movie, I also wonder what sin I’ve committed to sit through this Stephen Hopkins-directed piece of junk which probably no one wants to remember years down the road.

Movie Rating:

(Everyone has a bad day. It’s probably Hilary Swank’s turn)

Review by John Li


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