Fri, Apr 06, 2007 - Page 16 News List

A plague upon this grim and silly story

NY TIMES NEWS SERVICE , NEW YORK

The plot of this film may sound familiar.

PHOTO COURTESY OF WARNER BROS

Just what the world has been missing: a faith-bereft heroine, imperiled child, satanic cult, supernatural mystery. With the biblical plagues, no less. Happy Passover, everybody! First-borns get in at half price!

Writers Carey W. Hayes and Chad Hayes supply the full-on-horror component, but they also want to top things off with a mind-mess to boot. It's not happening.

Thriller/action director Stephen Hopkins (Lost in Space, Predator 2) — who had, we thought, left such matters behind after he made The Life and Death of Peter Sellers — is back in full fright mode here. The jumps, however, are largely boo scares and strategic gore rather than anything really horrifying. The plagues themselves — particularly the later ones — are often a bit cheesy. A screen full of CG-enhanced locusts is the one exception.

Amid such mayhem, there isn't much for a two-time Oscar winner like Swank to do with herself, except reach out soulfully to the girl who may be the Antichrist. She also gets to sob, when the script calls for her to do so, and has her saying, "I was so wrong!"

In this endeavor, she's not the only one.

Film Notes:

The ReapingDirector: Stephen Hopkins.Starring: Hilary Swank, David Morrissey, AnnaSophia Robb, Idris Elba.Running time: 98 minutesTaiwan release: today


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