Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

NO SAFE HAVEN; Hilary Swank Heads to Where Bad Things Happen in 'The Reaping'

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

NO SAFE HAVEN; Hilary Swank Heads to Where Bad Things Happen in 'The Reaping'

Article excerpt

Byline: MATT SOERGEL

Welcome to Haven, La., where this afternoon's forecast calls for a good chance of precipitation in the form of scattered frogs over the river of blood. Hidden away down a dirt road where you won't find cell phone reception, a motel, persons of color or even a Starbucks, it's the sweaty, buggy setting of The Reaping, a hokey, creaky yarn of the dark-and-stormy-night variety.

It's the kind of movie where people are forever exploring dark corridors and crypts, pushing open forbidden doors and standing in front of mirrors so that when they look up, they see the reflection of the scary guy standing behind them.

There's also a priest who fishes clues out of ancient know-it-all texts, as well as a creepy, blank-eyed little kid who shows up now and then to stand there and be, well, creepy, what with those blank eyes and all.

The Reaping is made up of parts of a half-dozen or so better movies, and parts is parts.

Two-time Academy Award winner Hilary Swank slums it as Katherine Winter, a one-time ordained minister who turned away from religion after a tragedy in the Sudan. She now spends her time debunking miracles and teaching at Louisiana State. It's a living.

One day, a science teacher from Haven (David Morrissey) comes to her class: A kid has died, the river has turned red, and can you come help? She does, and within a day - after cows fall dead and frogs rain from the sky - Katherine's god-fearing colleague, Ben (Idris Elba), is sure: It's the 10 plagues of Exodus, happening in Haven.

Katherine pooh-poohs that. She has some scientific mumbo-jumbo to explain it all. But strange things keep happening, and the locals in Haven think they know why - it's because of the creepy, blank-eyed kid (AnnaSophia Robb from Because of Winn-Dixie). Any minute now, the locals will be jumping in their pickup trucks with shotguns, ready to do somethin' about it. …

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