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THE REAPING ($29) is more interesting premise than great horror movie, but then again, it isn’t a bad way to spend ninety-nine minutes, as long as you have a couple of packages of microwave popcorn. Additionally, Hilary Swank’s presence does elevate the material and also give the production a touch of class. In THE REAPING, Swank portrays Katherine Winter, a former missionary, who has lost her faith, and now works as a professional debunker of supernatural phenomena. Katherine’s latest investigation brings her to Haven, a small community deep in the Louisiana bayous, where a young girl named Loren McConnell (AnnaSophia Robb), may be evil incarnate, and responsible for phenomena reminiscent of the ten Old Testament plagues that befell Egypt in the time of Moses.

Although Katherine expects to find nothing more than a hoax, or some form of red algae that has turned the local river red- the fact that an analysis of the river water reveals it to be human blood, leads her to suspect she may be up against something beyond the ordinary. Soon, Katherine is seeing evidence of the other plagues befalling the community, not to mention dire warnings from her old friend Father Costigan (Stephen Rea) who reveals a prophecy involving angels and a demonic child. The cast of THE REAPING also features David Morrissey, Idris Elba, William Ragsdale, John McConnell, David Jensen, Yvonne Landry, Samuel Garland, Myles Cleveland, Andrea Frankle, Mark Lynch, Stuart Greer and Lara Grice

Warner Home Video has made THE REAPING available on DVD in a 2.35:1 wide screen presentation that features the anamorphic enhancement for 16:9 displays. A full screen version is on the other side of the flipper disc, but who cares? The transfer is good, but not outstanding. For my money, the biggest problem with the presentation is the fact that the compression is poor and it looks as though the image has been softened to save on the bit rate. Artifacting is evident throughout and gets annoying after a while. Colors look good and smearing is not a problem. The film elements appear clean and grain is never problematic.

THE REAPING comes with a very good quality Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack, which impresses far more than the video component of the presentation. As expected, there are plenty of creepy sound effects and zingers deployed throughout the soundstage. In addition, there is a healthy dose of atmosphere that also makes good use of the outlying channels. Fidelity is first rate; the sound effects are convincing, plus the musical component is full bodied. Voices are natural sounding, plus the film’s dialogue is always completely understandable. French and Spanish 5.1 channel soundtracks have also been encoded onto the DVD, as have English, French and Spanish subtitles.

Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the DVD's interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to standard scene selection and set up features, as well as some extras. Science Of The Ten Plagues looks to science to explain the biblical account. The Characters features interviews and a look behind the scenes. A Place Called Haven deals with the location shooting. The Reaping: The Seventh Plague is enough to drive you buggy. Assorted Trailers close out the extras.

THE REAPING is a horror dish best served with lots of popcorn. Warner’s DVD disappoints; hopefully, the film looks better on the HD formats.



The Reaping (2007)



DVD reviews are Copyright © 2007 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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