Welcome to Mind Control Month | Possession Week – Day 5. Well, today is the final day of Possession Week. Next week, we’ll be looking at brainwashing and deception as a form of mind control, so that should be interesting. Right now, we’re taking a look at The Reaping. Before I get into the review, let me just point out that I found this film in a list of demonic possession films, which is how it found its way into my list this week. That, in part, has to do with how it was advertised to me, even if it really has nothing to do with possession. With that being said, let’s go ahead and talk about the plot of the film.
The death of a child in mysterious circumstances sparks a series of events that seem to represent biblical plagues, which start occurring in, of all places, a town called “Haven” that is located deep in the bowels of Bible belt country in the bayous of Louisiana. A former Christian missionary turned religious phenomena debunker and her top open minded student turned personal assistant are sent to investigate. – IMDb
One thing that really sucked me into watching this film was a modern take on the ten deadly plagues of Egypt found in the Exodus book of the Bible, but each of these plagues is happening in modern time. That’s something I really found interesting, along with the intelligent scientific explanations for the plagues that happened in the Bible. That being said, I hated the idea that all of these Bible-thumpers immediately thought the plagues were happening thanks to Satan. I grew up on the Bible. I know those plagues very well. If they were to happen today, I wouldn’t think of Satan. I would think God’s doing it again, and there’s no real reason to think otherwise. So, their explanation that it’s the devil inside this young girl was fun and all but made no logical sense from a religious standpoint.
That’s just my first impressions, though. Let’s dig deeper and break down The Reaping to interpret the stars.
PEOPLE SCORE – 8/10
Acting – 2|Characters – 1|Casting – 2|Importance – 2|Chemistry – 1
First, we look at the people category, which did an alright job. In general, the film seems to have a good understanding of what it wanted to do – so a lot of the acting is actually pretty decent all around. I wouldn’t say the characters are very memorable, though. They’re all fine, but they just aren’t unique enough to remember. Casting-wise, I’m slightly shocked at their ability to cast some very well-known actors in this film. Especially since it’s partially considered a horror film. Everyone, memorable or not, had a pretty important part to play in the film and added to the film. That being said, I didn’t think it was a very chemistry-centric film, so there wasn’t a lot of that.
WRITING SCORE – 9/10
Dialogue – 2|Balance – 1|Story – 2|Originality – 2|Interesting – 2
Onto the writing category! Remarkably, they did a pretty good job here. I would say the one area that could’ve used improvement was probably the actual balance. I think it went a little too far with strange side stories about a possible antichrist, visions, and nightmares – when I was solely interested in the plagues and scientific explanation storyline. Like I said before, I liked the scientific explanations throughout the film, which goes into the dialogue, full points there. What’s the story? Modern biblical plagues…that’s awesome – and a story I want to hear. Why? Because that’s not only interesting, but it’s original, too. We’ve seen plenty of modern day Noah’s Arc stories – not enough plague stuff.
BTS SCORE – 8/10
Visuals – 2|Directing – 2|Editing – 2|Advertisement – 1|Music – 1
Alright, behind-the-scenes was also done pretty well, but it was slightly false advertisement…for a couple of reasons. First of all, I found this on a list of films about possession, which there’s none to be found. I also thought it’d be more about the plagues than the evil entity crap – which it’s unfortunately not, either. That being said, we’ve got some really nice visuals surrounding the film. You know most of the plagues are CGI, but they’re done pretty well. There were some definite challenging points between the directing and editing – as they seemed like a lot of thought went into making it look good on a natural level, which it definitely does. I wish the music was a little more memorable to fit with everything else in this category, but alas, it isn’t so.
NARRATIVE ARC SCORE – 9/10
Introduction – 2|Inciting Incident – 2|Obstacles – 2|Climax – 2|Falling Action – 1
Another nearly perfect score for the narrative arc category. The one place where it falters is during the falling action, which it sort of teases something – which isn’t a perfect return to a new norm. Everything else works really well. The introduction lets us get acquainted with the scientific angle behind biblical “miracles” and the woman responsible for finding them out. The inciting incident is when she travels to the town of Haven to investigate the plagues. The obstacles are, well, the plagues. The climax is a decent culmination of everything else before it. Everything here is pretty decent.
ENTERTAINMENT SCORE – 5/10
Rewatchability – 2|Fun – 2|Impulse/Buy – 0|Impulse/Talk – 0|Sucks you in – 1
As far as how entertaining The Reaping was? I’d say decent enough, but could be better. I definitely consider this rewatchable because it’s really fun to just watch. It almost sucks you in throughout the film, too, if it weren’t for the weird side story about the devil worshiping cult. Other than that, I have no impulse to buy this, own this, or talk about it with anyone.
SPECIALTY TOTAL – 20/50
Mind Control – 0|Possession – 0|Horror – 5|Plagues – 5|Halfway Decent – 10
Here’s what makes a potentially high-scoring film…low-scoring – expectations. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I found this movie among a list for demon-possessed films, and that’s not what it is…at all. That means both the mind control and possession themeed categories get zero points. As for being listed under horror? I can see the idea surrounding the devil and cults to be potentially scary, but it…isn’t. Half points for trying! I also thought there’d be more plague discussion than there actually was…half points as well. Finally, was it halfway decent? For this, I’ll say yes. They had an exact idea behind this film – and they achieved what they wanted to do.
TOTAL – 59/100