The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

96° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    ‘The Reaping’ infects theaters

    In The Reaping, Ben (Idris Elba), a scientist who specializes in miracles and myths, stares into a river of blood. The film focuses on a Louisiana town that seems to be experiencing Biblical plagues.
    In “”The Reaping,”” Ben (Idris Elba), a scientist who specializes in miracles and myths, stares into a river of blood. The film focuses on a Louisiana town that seems to be experiencing Biblical plagues.

    Another film banking on religious dogma and supernatural quandary has once again made it to the big screen, but “”The Reaping”” carries a little more charm than Hollywood is prepared to dish out.

    When the film opens with the obligatory what-the-hell-is-going-on scene that only serves the purpose of reminding you it’s a horror movie, right away you think you’re in for something absolutely terrible.

    After a priest wakes up to find that the face of his daughter in all of his photos is burning for no apparent reason before his very eyes, he puts them all together on his floor to find the burn marks form an upside-down sickle. Perhaps this puzzle should have been put together later on for dramatic effect, but the damage is done and the movie continues.

    The film moves to a location in Chile, where a community seems to be sick from some sort of disease. They make their way to an underground makeshift tomb of some kind where residents are praying to a body which looks like it died yesterday, but had been there for several decades.

    Having gone into the movie knowing there are Old Testament plagues throughout the narrative, what the film is trying to pull at this point seems at first like a bad Houdini trick that will probably have no payoff.

    In fact, what we learn is that Katherine Winter (Hilary Swank), and her partner Ben (Idris Elba) are scientists who specialize in debunking miracles and myths. The idea is not a new one, but Swank plays the role with such ferocious honesty that one can’t look away as she argues with such confidence.

    She then gets asked to investigate a town in which the entire river has turned to blood. She accepts, only because everyone in town is blaming a little girl for the whole thing. It goes without saying that she is an atheist, and her character arc seems quite predictable, but the execution of this role is remarkable.

    Winter doesn’t wait to pick a pleasant, leisurely moment to go through the scientific

    “”The Reaping””
    Rating: R
    Length: 96 min.
    Production Company:
    Warner Bros.

    explanations of the Biblical plagues that has been lingering in the back of our minds for twenty minutes. Rather, she spits them out with fire and aggression when her partner begins to believe the signs of the plague.

    Although the story is quite intriguing and Swank’s performance is nothing less than stellar, the film is not without its predictable and calculated cheap scares. It also doesn’t let up on the special effects and explosions.

    Some of the scenes are well-crafted to seem like typical horror formulae but end up becoming something else; for instance, a sequence walking through a dark house which would be expected to end in another cheap trick, but after some interesting cinematography, moves into a dramatic midnight conversation.

    We know right off the bat that Winter is not a believer of the supernatural, and the film plays off of this. At times when we’re expecting to see her frightened, it pulls the rug out from beneath us constantly to remind us that she could be right.

    The film portrays dream sequences very effectively, but uses flashbacks far too poorly. There are too many of them and they are only there to tell us what we’re supposed to know. The revelations could have been more clear without resorting to this elementary tactic.

    With an overblown climax and a confusing finale, the payoff almost does not seem worth it. But nevertheless, the experience of seeing Winter, matched with her Christian partner Ben, makes for an interesting character study. The few twists, however believable or contrived, only serve as the backdrop for the advancing of one character’s struggle with faith. Had Hollywood’s over-the-top influence not been felt on this film, “”The Reaping”” would be one of the greatest films so far this year.

    More to Discover
    Activate Search