Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Stephen Hopkins|
|Produced by||Richard Mirisch
|Written by||Carey Hayes
|Music by||John Frizzell|
|Edited by||Colby Parker Jr.
|Distributed by||Warner Bros. Pictures|
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.
Katherine Winter (Hilary Swank) and colleague, Ben (Idris Elba), investigate and disprove claims of miracles. In Louisiana, Katherine receives a call from a friend, Father Michael Costigan (Stephen Rea), who says that his photographs of her have developed burn marks that when assembled, form a sickle-like symbol, a possible warning from God, which she ignores. She meets Doug Blackwell (David Morrissey), a teacher from the nearby town of Haven, who asks Katherine to find 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. They travel to Haven where Katherine meets Loren and has a vision of her turning the river red. Meanwhile, Ben witnesses dead frogs seemingly fall from the sky. Doug invites them to spend the night at his house, since the town doesn't have a motel. That night as they're about to eat dinner, they encounter flies and disease, which kills off local cows. Later that evening, Katherine explains to Doug at his wife's grave why she left the church; five years ago, she was an ordained minister. After a drought while doing missionary work in the Sudan with her husband and daughter, the locals sacrificed her family, believing they were the cause.
Test results from the river prove it to contain human blood. The citizens meanwhile are shaving their children's hair, due to an outbreak of lice. Ben and Doug try to get the mayor to evacuate the town, but he and his staff are struck down with boils.
Katherine calls Father Costigan, who explains that he has researched a Satanic cult which sacrifices every second-born 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 destroy them. He insists that Loren is the devil child, while Katherine is the angel. Suddenly, a supernatural force burns Costigan's room, killing him. Katherine goes to the McConnell house where she finds the cult's sacrificial chamber. There, she finds Loren's mother, who pulls out a gun and kills herself. Katherine grabs a knife and proceeds outside to find locusts everywhere as well as a small posse come to kill Loren, which Ben and Doug followed. Suddenly, the locusts attack and kill the posse members; Doug runs away and falls in the blood-filled river; Katherine locks herself in the house; Ben hides in a crypt, where he discovers skeletons and bodies of sacrificed children. He calls Katherine, when Loren appears outside.
Katherine hurries after Ben, but finds him dead. She confronts Loren as darkness falls and fireballs shoot from the sky. Katherine 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 the angel God sent. The townsfolk surround 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, reminding them that they had sacrificed generations of second-borns, leaving a town of firstborns. Suddenly fire rains down on the town, killing everyone, including Doug.
Later, as they drive away, Loren tells Katherine that she is pregnant. As this is her second child, Katherine 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 5, 2006, then November 5, 2006; it was then switched to March 30, 2007, (the date featured on the above poster), and then to April 5, 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 (or not) 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 high budget movie.
- "The Reaping". boxofficemojo.com. Retrieved 11 July 2015.
- 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.