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The Reaping

September 5, 2015

TRThe Reaping is a simple story about a woman with lost faith who is forced to confront an age-old cult, leading up to a repeat of the plagues on Egypt, done with special effects. (In the movie, it replaces the Gnats with Lice and puts it as the 6th, after boils and then mixes hail, Locusts, and darkness putting Locusts first then darkness and hail of fire. When Katherine is giving Ben her list of causes for the 10 plagues, she states that locusts would have been blown into Cairo. The plagues took place around 1400BCE, but Cairo didn’t exist until 969CE, and didn’t become the capital until 1168-1169CE. She should have used Thebes as the reference city since it did exist then, and was Egypt’s capital.)

The woman is driven to disprove miracles because she’s lost her faith in God, and she’s bitter about a deep, personal loss.

Is this is going to become a cautionary tale about global warming, a commentary on Hurricane Katrina disaster, suggesting, like some televangelists, that sin brought devastation on New Orleans. No, The Reaping is far too excited about unleashing special-effects mayhem to bother with any serious thought. The plagues provide enough paranormal activity for several movies, but they’re just the beginning. Winter’s old friend Father Costigan, a priest she’s trying to ignore, is suffering vivid hallucinations about the angel of death, and all of his photographs of Winter are catching fire. Meanwhile, Dakota Fanning’s evil twin (AnnaSophia Robb of Bridge to Terabithia) is lurking in the Haven swamp. When she’s around, Winter suffers freaky psychic flashes. These fragmented revelations may not be of much practical use, but they sure make viewers jump in their seats.

What does it all mean? Besides the obvious lessons of “Satanic cults are bad,” “faith is good,” and “It’s wrong to murder small children,” it’s hard to say. And we aren’t led to fear the wrath of God; the spectacle of one plague inclines us to lean forward in anticipation of the next, so that the finale is like the climax of a Fourth of July display. When frogs fell from the sky in Magnolia, we cared because the film was filled with interesting characters. Here, they’re just another juicy jolt—and by that point, the plagues have become wearying. When Ben exclaims, “There’s still three plagues to go! We gotta get outta here!”, most viewers will have already come to that same conclusion, and much earlier.

Filming in Louisiana was interrupted by Hurricane Katrina.

The film portrays the city of Concepcion, Chile, as a warm, tropical, Third World small town. This caused a furor in Concepcion, with people walking out of the theaters and others calling for authorities to ban the movies. The city shown as “Concepcion, Chile” at the beginning of the movie is nothing like the real location. The architecture, the climate, even the city distribution and geographical location is wrong, and also people’s accent and culture. Concepcion has a cold and rainy climate, it has many modern buildings, especially at the centre of the city, where the Cathedral is located, and there’s no industry near the city. It’s located far from the sea and a wide river goes across it. Also, the uniform of the Chilean police is dark green, with long jackets and boots and no Beret. Also, the Chilean Police and all Chillean Armed Forces personal are not allowed to wear beards, only mustaches with superior officer approval.

When Katherine is giving Ben her list of causes for the 10 plagues, she states that locusts would have been blown into Cairo. The plagues took place around 1400BC, but Cairo didn’t exist until 969AD, and didn’t become the capital until 1168-1169AD. She should have used Thebes as the reference city since it did exist then, and was Egypt’s capital.

TR 2Maddie McConnell: Are you here for my girl? Are you gonna kill my baby girl?
Katherine Winter: What? No!
Maddie McConnell: Why not?
Katherine Winter: I’m just trying to help her.
Maddie McConnell: She doesn’t need help. Can’t you see that?

Ben: [on the plagues] There’s still six more left.

Doug Blackwell: Only a server of God could kill his angel. You remember? What you God did to you in Sudan. What about your daughter, huh? Now that…
Doug Blackwell: that is your God.
[gives Katherine the knife]
Doug Blackwell: Katherine.
Katherine Winter: [she doesn’t take the knife] That wasn’t God. God didn’t kill my family. A weak, Godless man filled with fear and hatred… a man like you. There’s still that last plague, Doug. Death of the firstborn. You come from a long line of only children.

Loren McConnell: [gasping and shaking] I’m so lucky.
Katherine Winter: Why?
Loren McConnell: Because, silly.
[scene cuts to Katherine and her daughter, then back again]
Loren McConnell: God gave me to you.

Katherine Winter: How do I know? How do I know what’s real?
Loren McConnell: [reaches shaking hand up to Katherine’s face] Faith.

Loren McConnell: What about the boy?
Katherine Winter: What boy?
Loren McConnell: The baby. The one inside you. I can hear him. We’ve got to take care of him too.

Katherine Winter: In 1400 B.C., a group of nervous Egyptians saw the Nile turn red. But what they thought was blood was actually an algae bloom which killed the fish, which prior to that had been living off the eggs of frogs. Those uneaten eggs turned into record numbers of baby frogs who subsequently fled to the land and died. Their little rotting frog bodies attracted lice and flies. The lice carried the bluetongue virus, which killed 70% of Egypt’s livestock. The flies carried glanders, a bacterial infection which in humans causes boils. Soon afterwards, the Nile River Valley was hit with a three-day sandstorm otherwise known as the plague of darkness. During the sandstorm, intense heat can combine with an approaching cold front to create not only hail, but also electrical storms which would have looked to the ancient Egyptians like fire from the sky. The subsequent wind would have blown the Ethiopian locust population off course and right into downtown Cairo. Hail is wet, locusts leave droppings spread both on grain, and you have got mycotoxins. Dinnertime in ancient Egypt meant the first-born child got the biggest portion which in this case meant he ate the most toxins, so he died. Ten plagues. Ten scientific explanations.

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