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"The Reaping"

Directed by Stephen Hopkins.
Written by Carey Hayes and Chad Hayes.
Starring Hilary Swank, David Morrissey, Idris Elba and Annasophia Robb.
Release Year:  2007
Review Date:  4/5/07


Holy fucking SHIT, "The Reaping" is bad!!

Courtesy of a freebie last night down in Georgetown, I decided to hop over to the multiplex to see this new Hilary Swank thriller because the trailer looked reasonable and it had Idris Elba, one of the many talents from "The Wire" a few years back.  I figured, how bad can this PG-13 "horror" flick be?

Holy fucking SHIT, "The Reaping" is bad!!

Swank plays purveyor-of-faith-turned-non-believer-investigator Katherine Winter, a woman who has shown up to prove 48 supposed "miracles" in a row to be nothing more than science-based anomalies...after losing her daughter to a religious sacrificial cult ceremony many years ago, Katherine basically said fuck you, religion and went off to become a world-renowned scientist who now teaches at LSU.  At one of her classes, a local man named Doug (David Morrissey) asks Katherine and her partner, Ben (Elba), to come investigate a minor problem they are having in the small town of nearby Haven, Louisiana--the town's major river appears to have turned completely to blood and a 12-year-old girl (Annasophia Robb) appears to be the spawn of the devil.

Strangely uninteresting from almost the beginning, "The Reaping" suffers from just a few minor issues:

  1. Swank, now a two-time Oscar winner, is WAY overqualified for this fucking shitastic script.  She appears as bored as her audience eventually gets; I feel like I recognize this quality in actors so much now that it is beginning to affect how I watch the film from the jump.  (This is also why I am frightened about the upcoming "Die Hard" film; it can't be just me that Willis looks utterly comatose in the ads AND in the poster.)

  2. Morrissey is fucking atrocious, and worse, he seems to be attempting to play a're telling me that the best the producers could do was hire a Brit to play a Cajun?  Were there no actual fucking Southerners around?

  3. "The Reaping" just comes across as being devoid of energy; the camerawork attempts to make up for some of this by being whipped around every which way for no good reason throughout the film, but otherwise, the scares are not noteworthy in the slightest.

  4. The writing for this movie gets so funny at times that as the various "signs" that the devil is in fact upon us and the Swank character becomes more and more convinced that maybe something is going on here, you just wait to see how the next formerly kind Southerner will get it on the way to a showdown between Swank and whoever the fucking devil is.  And, as the only black guy in the movie, you just KNOW that Elba's gonna get it, but when you find out how, you are severely underwhelmed.

All of these put together led some people in my screening last night literally leave the theater three-quarters of the way through.  Two people sitting to my left exited the theater during what you KNOW is the end sequence, they were so fed up with this fucking drivel.  Usually, if you are gonna leave a freebie early, you do it early on, like say half an hour into it; no, last night, people actually stuck with this thing, knowing that it was catshit but deciding "Shit, you know what?  I didn't actually pay to see this, so let's just play it out and see what happens."

Sadly, nothing ever does.  Still, this might make $10-15 million in its first weekend, because people love Swank so much.

Rating:  Hard Vice


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Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09