Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Stephen Hopkins|
|Produced by||Richard Mirisch
|Written by||Carey Hayes
|Music by||John Frizzell|
|Editing by||Colby Parker Jr.
|Studio||Village Roadshow Pictures
Dark Castle Entertainment
|Distributed by||Warner Bros. Pictures|
|Release date(s)||April 5, 2007|
|Running time||99 minutes|
The Reaping is an 2007 American horror film, starring Hilary Swank. The film was directed by Stephen Hopkins for Warner Bros. Pictures, Village Roadshow Pictures and Dark Castle Entertainment. The music for the film was scored by John Frizzell.
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Katherine Winter (Hilary Swank) and her colleague, Ben (Idris Elba), are in Chile investigating claims of a miracle. Katherine uncovers a cache of hazardous waste illegally stashed in an underground oil well, which has ruptured, causing the biological effects of the "miracle". In Louisiana, Katherine receives a call from an old friend, Father Costigan (Stephen Rea), who says that a collection of photographs he has of her have developed mysterious burn marks that when assembled properly, form an ancient sickle-like symbol. He goes on to say that the symbol may be a warning from God, which Katherine ignores. Later, Doug Blackwell (David Morrissey), a science teacher from a nearby town called Haven, asks Katherine to help figure out why Haven's river has turned red. The locals believe this is a biblical plague caused by a girl, Loren McConnell (AnnaSophia Robb), who they believe killed her older brother in the river. Katherine and Ben travel to Haven and examine the river. There, Katherine meets Loren and has a vision of Loren turning the river red. Meanwhile, Ben witnesses dead frogs seemingly fall from the sky. Doug then invites them to spend the night at his house, since the town has no hotel. That evening while eating dinner, they suddenly encounter flies and disease, which kills off all of a local man's cows. Later that night, Katherine finds Doug outside at his wife's grave. Katherine explains why she left the church; five years ago, she was an ordained minister. After a year-long drought while doing missionary work in the Sudan with her husband and daughter, the locals sacrificed Katherine's family, believing they were the cause. Katherine and Doug then depart back to the house, where they have sex.
Katherine receives the test results from the river, which is proven to be reddened by human blood. The citizens, meanwhile, are shaving the hair off all their children due to a mass outbreak of lice. Ben and Doug try to get the mayor to evacuate the town, but he and his staff are found struck down with boils. The town then forms a mob, ready to kill Loren.
Reluctantly, Katherine calls Father Costigan, who explains that he has been researching an ancient Satanic cult which sacrifices every second born in an attempt to create a child with "the eyes of the Devil" to bring them power. He also states that an angel, who cannot be harmed by the cult, will appear to destroy them. He insists that Loren is the devil child, while trying to convince Katherine that she is the angel. Suddenly, a supernatural force burns down Costigan's room, trapping him inside and killing him. Desperate, Katherine goes to the McConnell house where she finds the cult's sacrificial chamber in the basement. There, she finds Loren's mother, who pulls out a gun and kills herself. Katherine grabs a nearby knife and proceeds outside where a small group has gathered, including Ben and Doug. Suddenly, thousands of locusts appear, killing some of the group (William Ragsdale, Stuart Greer, and Cody Sanders). Doug runs away and jumps in the river of blood, Katherine locks herself inside the house, and Ben hides in a crypt, where he discovers skeletons and bodies of sacrificed children. He calls Katherine to tell her where he is when Loren appears outside.
Katherine hurries after Ben but arrives to find him dead. She confronts Loren as darkness falls and fireballs shoot from the sky. Katherine attacks and is about to kill Loren, when they share another vision. The cult, along with Doug, are shown trying to kill Loren, who was a second-born child. Loren escaped and her brother Brody stabbed her, but her wound miraculously healed, and Brody died. Katherine realizes that Loren is innocent and that she is in fact the angel that God sent. The townsfolk appear and surround the two of them as Doug tells her that God is protecting Loren, and only an ordained servant of God like Katherine can kill her. He explains that they invited Katherine to investigate the plagues because they hoped she would join them, since she had turned her back on God like they did. Katherine refuses, while reminding them that they had sacrificed generations of second-born children leaving a town of only first-borns. Suddenly the fire begins raining down on the townsfolk, killing everyone. Doug tries to use Katherine as a shield against the fire, but is ultimately killed.
Later, Katherine and Loren are driving away together, when Loren discloses to Katherine that Katherine is pregnant and can "hear" her son inside her. Katherine is stunned by this knowledge as this is her second child, which triggers a flashback in which she remembers the night she was with Doug. Katherine then realizes that her son is the prophesied demonic child.
- Hilary Swank as Katherine Winter
- David Morrissey as Doug Blackwell
- Idris Elba as Ben
- AnnaSophia Robb as Loren McConnell
- Stephen Rea as Father Michael Costigan
- William Ragsdale as Sheriff Cade
- John McConell as Mayor Brooks
- Andrea Frankle as Maddie McConnell
- David Jensen as Jim Wakeman
- Yvonne Landry as Brynn Wakeman
- Stuart Greer as Gordon
- Lara Grice as Isabelle
- Mark Lynch as Brody McConnell
- Myles Cleveland as Kyle Wakeman
- Samuel Garland as William Wakeman
- Cody Sanders as Hank
- Burgess Jenkins as David Winter
- Sabrina A. Junius as Sarah Winter
Filming for the movie took place in and around Baton Rouge, Louisiana with many scenes shot in an abandoned WalMart store. Swank convinced the producers to move the film's setting from New England to Louisiana. When Hurricane Katrina occurred midshoot (August 26, 2005), the production of the film was suspended for one week. Many scenes were shot at Ellerslie Plantation near St. Francisville, Louisiana. The DVD special features record that the producers considered shooting in another city, but decided that Louisiana needed the economic benefit of the movie being shot there.
Before and during the making of the movie, skeptic investigator Joe Nickell was consulted. The type of skeptical investigations by the movie's main character in the first part of the movie is roughly based on Nickell's investigations of claims of the paranormal since 1969.
The film was originally scheduled to play in theaters on August 11, 2006, then November 8, 2006; it was then switched to March 30, 2007, (the date featured on the above poster), and then to April 6, 2007. It was finally released on April 5, 2007, to coincide with Holy Thursday.
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The score was originally written by Philip Glass, and went as far as the recording; however, the producers were not completely satisfied and decided to give it another try. John Frizzell was then brought in to compose a new score.
The film received negative reviews from critics. Rotten Tomatoes gives a score of 8% based on reviews from 132 critics. with the consensus stating: "It may feature such accomplished actors as Hilary Swank and Stephen Rea, but The Reaping also boasts the apropos tagline "What hath God wrought?". It's schlocky, spiritually shallow, and scare-free."
Jacqueline Van Rysselberghe, the Mayor of Concepción, Chile, formally objected to the producers of the film over its portrayal of the city in the opening scene. She pointed out that rather than being the dirty underdeveloped tropical city as shown in the movie, Concepción is an industrialized city with many universities and was surprised that such inadequate research of the setting had been carried out for a $100 million movie.
- Hart, Hugh (April 1, 2007). "Real scare for cast of 'Reaping'". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2007-04-01.
- The Making of The Reaping: Behind the Scenes of a Supernatural Thriller Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, accessed June 4, 2007.
- "The Reaping". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved 2007-08-09.
- "Concepción Mayor Pans Hilary Swank Film". Retrieved 2010-10-27.
- Official website
- The Reaping at the Internet Movie Database
- The Reaping at AllRovi
- The Reaping at the TCM Movie Database
- The Reaping at Box Office Mojo
- The Reaping at Rotten Tomatoes