Written by Puño Estupendo
I can read your mind. I know you've been wondering when Hilary Swank was going to star in a supernatural horror film and if your life would be complete on a spiritual level were that to happen. Well I'm here to give you a mixed bag in the answers to your questions.
The Reaping is a tale of supernatural horror and it does star Hilary Swank, but it really doesn't have any of the wonderful goodness that you've been praying for.
When a small, middle of podunk town is facing (what appear to be) the 10 plagues of the Bible, they reach out for help to Katherine Winter. A professor whose specialty is in the debunking of unexplained phenomena, she grabs her former assistant and travels down there with every intention of calling foul yet again. A river of blood? Surely this can all be logically explained? Maybe not. The townsfolk seem to be of the belief that it's being caused by a little girl.
As her investigation deepens, her personal issues rise to the surface. Though obviously charmed by Doug, her solicitor and hunky guide around town, she just can't let herself give in to either him or the plagues that are also defying her logic. Her sleuthing takes her through a pretty predictable cast of locals, from the religious zealot to the super-normal housewife; the set-up is nothing new. There's a conspiracy brewing here and they want that poor little girl killed! Professor Winter had better work some stuff out quick or there might literally be hell to pay! Is the little girl innocent or evil incarnate?
The Reaping has a couple of things going for it. It's shot fair enough and everything to do with each of the plagues looks great. What it suffers from is its forwardness. I couldn't help but think that the original story for this was probably pretty good, but after being Hollywood-ized, it got completely dumbed down so it could easily be spoon fed to the masses. It's kind of predictable at times and very clichéd when there really was no need to be. This is driven home by the fact that they manage to keep Hilary in some shorts and tank tops to give just the right amount of T&A factor without going too ridiculous with it. That's pretty much the recurring theme here. Everything is just predictable enough to keep it from being great, but not so much as to make it truly painful.
Without divulging spoilers, the plot does lead to a couple of interesting places. It's just too bad that the cost of that ended up being its smarts.