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The Reaping

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A religious scholar and debunker (Hillary Swank) finds her skepticism tested when she visits a Louisiana bayou town beset with Biblical plagues in this enjoyable but laughably bad horror thriller from Stephen Hopkins. The town, Haven (natch), is under the sway of both an upside-down scythe symbol -- known to the secular as the Blue Oyster Cult logo (don't fear the reaper!) -- and a girl (Anna Sophia Robb) who might be possessed by the devil. Little Miss Creepy stands by silently while we enjoy rivers of blood, swarms of locusts, a rain of frogs and fireballs from heaven. The special effects are certainly entertaining, even as Swank tries to elevate this mess with a semi-serious performance. Still, it's hard to beat Irish arthouse actor Stephen Rea, as a troubled priest, who literally phones in his scenery-chewing performance. (AH)

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