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ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Thou Shalt Not Watch
by Adam Hakari

On a quiet evening in the Movie Church confessional booth...

Adam Hakari: Father Flanagan, I'm glad you're here. I really need someone to talk to.

Father Flanagan: I'll do my best, my son. How long has it been since your last confession?

A: I never have been to confession, Father. You see,  I'm Lutheran, but that's beside the point. I need all the help I can get to remove this weight off of my chest.

F: Sounds strange, but continue. What troubles you?

A: Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned...I paid money to see The Reaping. Five dollars, to be exact (nine if you count the kiddie combo meal I got). Five dollars that I could have given to charity, bought something for my parents, or even washed my car with. Any of those would have been better options than throwing cash away like I did!

F: Hmm, The Reaping...which film is that one?

A: It's a horror movie starring Hilary Swank as Katherine Winter, a former minister-turned-college professor who also makes a living debunking so-called "religious miracles." One day, she and her partner are summoned to a small Louisiana town called Haven, a place where the river's water has apparently turned into human blood. Katherine is certain there's a scientific explanation behind the incident, but the townspeople believe the resurgence of the Bible's ten infamous plagues has begun. Sure enough, in the following days, frogs drop from the sky, livestock falls deathly ill, and locusts infest the town. With each new plague, Katherine's guard is let down a little more, convincing her that some real fire-and-brimstone stuff is taking place and that the key to stopping the plagues may lie with a mysterious little girl.

F: That doesn't sound like an awful horror film, my son. It certainly must be better than The Messengers.

A: You're right, Father. The Reaping wasn't totally bad. It did have an interesting premise and a better look to it than most horror flicks. And Hilary Swank actually gave a pretty decent performance.

F: So The Reaping seems like a good horror film after all. What could possibly be wrong with it?

A: Almost everything else, Father. Those plague scenes are just plain goofy, especially when the river of blood looks like a few thousand gallons of Hawaiian Punch and the actors get hilariously pelted with frogs, Magnolia-style. The supporting cast was sub-par, with Basic Instinct 2's David Morrissey doing a laughable job of trying to keep his English accent subdued. Even poor Stephen Rea ends up talking on the phone for two-thirds of his screen time. The story gets tired and confusing, and the script throws in one last stupid twist to jolt the audience right before the end credits roll. What should I do, Father?

F: Well, normally I'd deal out a "Hail Mary" or two, but in your case, I'd suggest watching Signs again. 

A: I think I'll do that, Father. Thanks for your help! Oh, and Father, I'm checking out Are We Done Yet? in a couple of days, so expect to see me back here soon...

MY RATING: ** (out of ****)

(Released by Warner Bros. Pictures and rated "R" for violence, disturbing images and some sexuality.)

Listen to Adam Hakari discuss The Reaping on the ReelTalk Radio Show by clicking here.

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