Saturday, April 07, 2007

The Reaping

Yet Another Demonic Child?

Watching two Hilary Swank movies back to back, I thought it presented a good opportunity to see how the same actress tackles different roles, one a dramatic piece about life's lessons, and the other this, The Reaping, taking on some supernatural forces, although she almost started this movie in a lecture hall premise.

I don't exactly label The Reaping as horror, because it doesn't have a single scene that can truly scare anyone, unless of course your heart's weaker than a chicken's. The structure is akin to Silent Hill, only that The Reaping is not adapted from a video game. But unlike Hill, this movie is pretty compact in its pacing, and doesn't drag scenes for too long to create atmospheric mood like its peer. Instead, if compared to Silent Hill, this is one Noisy Swamp.

Hilary Swank plays a researcher who specializes in debunking biblical sightings and miracles by using science to demystify such phenomena. Listening to her rip the miracles and happenings apart however, was fun, nevermind if it sounded logical or not, since it's Swank, who managed to make the unbelievable, believable in the movie. But that's not to say that she did a fantastic job here, in a role that's largely wasted. If you want to see her act, check out Freedom Writers instead.

But I digress. The Reaping's Dana Scully and Fox Mulder equivalents go into investigating a series of bizarre biblical occurrence, the Ten Biblical Plagues, ranging from the blood waters, attacking locusts right down to the last one - the death of every first born. Some may not like the hokey plot taking advantage of God's wrath on man, but as the movie turned out, it's nothing more than a special effects extravaganza, with the religious fervour added to the background and contributing some semblance for a plot to work.

It's hip these days to have demonic children as part of the ensemble, and The Reaping has this mysterious girl who seemingly is the cause of God's Wrath. Or is it? There's a little mystery to solve, with a couple of twists at the end, in a tale about the devil and avenging angels. And while the end does wrap things up, it leaves room for a possible sequel, should the movie do well at the box office.

The only redeeming grace from the uninspiring, unscary story, is the special effects. Nothing more, nothing less, and nothing to scare your socks off, despite what the trailer and posters suggest.

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