The Reaping

“Oh, it’s very biblically based,” said the promoter who called me to encourage me to see The Reaping.

I’m still trying to figure out what that meant. For all of its God-talk, The Reaping is just the kind of “faith-based film” we don’t need. What hath The Passion of The Christ wrought? With only a few notable exceptions, it hath wrought a plague of exploitative, superficial, theologically confused, audience-abusing movies like Constantine and this big-budget howler.

The Reaping is far too excited about unleashing special-effects mayhem to bother with any serious thought. In fact, with a few winks at the audience, this could have become a campy classic, a spoof of noisy horror flicks. But director Stephen Hopkins (TV’s “Tales from the Crypt”) takes this preposterous storyline so seriously that it’s just no fun. You may find yourself wishing that boils or locusts would come and put you out of your misery.

My full review is at CT Movies.

Peter Chattaway doesn’t have much to say, but he does say this: “I do think this film is probably a hair better than, say, Bless the Child (2000), which was also a dull, plodding, cheesy apocalyptic thiller starring an Oscar-winning actress. But then, I guess that isn’t saying much.”

Harry Forbes at CNS says it’s “more silly than scary. … There’s a first-rate locust attack and there are some creepy river sequences, but otherwise director Stephen Hopkins’ horror fest is low on frights, with a disjointed script and choppy camerawork. … The putative religious elements, including discussions about faith and the Father Costigan character, are mere window dressing to a conventional genre flick.”

Christian Hamaker (Crosswalk) says, “There are 10 biblical plagues. The Reaping makes a strong case as number 11. Who sent it upon us, and of what sins do we need to repent to make it go away?”

Lindy Keffer (Plugged In) notes, “…it’s a bit surprising that The Reaping goes so far out of its way to accept the existence and activity of both God and Satan. Beyond that, the heroine makes a positive turn from denying God to acknowledging him. But don’t start thinking that Hilary Swank’s Katherine is now somehow poised to dethrone Charlton Heston’s Moses. The connection here between God and the plagues He’s supposed to have caused is ambiguous and does little to expose viewers to His true character. …I’m not saying that there’s nothing redemptive about The Reaping. Only that the good that’s there will mostly likely be swallowed up in moviegoers’ minds by a farfetched and R-rated river of blood. And flies. And locusts. And lice. And frogs…”

Greg Wright (Past the Popcorn): “What I find really distasteful about the film … is its warm and fuzzily incendiary embrace of vengeful and divine retribution. Robbed of the chance to portray something truly frightening, Hopkins merely panders to the small-minded and paranoid, finger-pointing two-thirds of our natures. Sure, this is a tale that invokes Old-Testament values, and in pretty explicit ten-step terms. But haven’t we had a good two thousand years or so to get past that? Or has our society (and politics) been driven so post-Christian that we’ve now come pre-Christian full circle? What a nasty place to be. I hope that’s not what we really want. Oh well; we reap what we sow.”

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