THE REAPING

NOTE: Spoiler #59 sent in by Brentage5000. who calls it..."An awesome movie. Swank is great, and Robb is fast becoming a great actress. Even if you do read this, you should still see it."

We begin in Italy, where we see Father Costigan (Sephen Rea) going about his evening prayers. He pauses to look at a picture of an old friend of his, Katherine Winter, and her family, when suddenly the area of the picture where Katherine is starts burning away. He breaks open the frame to get at the picture, but the fire soon extinguishes itself. He smells something and tears open his desk drawer to find that more pictures are burning -- but only ones with Katherine in them. Once the fires are all out, he realizes that the burn marks all seem to form a part of something and begins arranging them, eventually having the burns form in the shape of a sickle.

Cut to Concepcion, Chile. We see two people, Katherin (Hilary Swank) and her assistant/friend Ben (Idris Elba, who for not being well known previously rocks the movie), following a police officer into some church or crypt. They throw on some gas masks and head inside, where people are gathered around the remarkably well-preserved corpse of some monk who died over a year ago, all of them blind. Katherine sees one old lady and a little girl about to take the sweat from his body and ingest it, but Katherine makes Ben stop them (she doesn’t speak Portuguese). The lady calls her a devil, and Ben explains that people have been coming here since an earthquake opened the tomb up. Katherine does a little digging and finds a sewer access panel behind the grave, and she and Ben enter. After picking their way through and seeing some rust that looks remarkably like blood, they find a hatch which they crack open and head into. Suddenly they are yanked up by people in radiation suits and find themselves surrounded by toxic barrels, and we next see Katherine teaching at Louisiana State University, talking about how she disproved this miracle (the blind were hallucinating from the vapors, not seeing) and forty-seven others. She dismisses the class and goes to her office with Ben, where she gets a call from Costigan, an old friend from when she was still a priest. He warns her that she is in danger of something and tries telling her about the pictures, but she gets mad and hangs up. As soon as she does, she gets a flash of some old memories of a time when she and her family were in the desert, and we see Costigan there, along with a scary-looking gay with a giant stone machete. She comes back and Ben is telling her that someone is there to see her. He introduces himself as Doug Blackwell and basically tells her that the river in his town of Haven has apparently turned to blood (1), and he wants her to come down and disprove it. When she says no, he tells her that the town is blaming a twelve year old girl thanks to her supposedly killing her older brother, and this moves her into agreeing.

A day or so later, Katherine and Ben are pulling into town and being welcomed and smiled at by pretty much everybody, including the town mayor (John McConnel) and Sheriff Cade (William Ragsdale). After Mayor Brooks makes everybody feel awkward by loudly voicing that they should just out and arrest "that little girl in the swamp", Katherine suggests checking out the river. One car ride later, the sheriff and our hero trio are at the river banks and being told that the "blood" stretches for two miles, from beyond town borders to a dam down south a ways. They examine some dead fish and try to take a pH level for the water, but it turns black -- off the charts. They take some more samples to send to the FBI testing center and head upriver, ultimately doing a little wading in rubber pants. Katherine goes ashore and leaves Ben to flounder, and she sees a stork dip its head in for a fish and come up red. She slips and falls and sees a little girl -- Loren (AnnaSophia Robb), the one they're all blaming -- and heads after her, but gets turned around while something starts falling out of the trees all around them. Doug finds her and brings her to Ben, and they discover that the falling things were dead frogs (2). They take a couple back with them and head for Doug's place, where he's got some rooms ready.

At Doug's place -- a mansion he inherited from his grandfather -- we see him showing Katherine around and explaining that the place is in a disrepair state and that he's an only child, although Katherine loves it anyway just before realizing that she lost a bracelet that used to belong to her daughter in the swamp. He also shows her a nearby former church/crypt that was apparently the original "Haven". That night, Doug is barbecuing some fish for them (from the supermarket), and while Katherine gets another beer, Ben explains to Doug that despite not having seen any miracles, he believes in them thanks to having survived getting shot at -- and hit multiple times -- by a machine gun as a kid. Katherine returns and Doug turns to get the fish but sees that they've suddenly been covered with flies (3) in the three seconds since he last looked at them. Disappointed and intrigued, they save a fly and throw the rest and the food away. As they do, they get a phone call from the sheriff and are told to head over to a cattle farmer's place, since they're acting strange. They do, but are attacked by one of the male bulls as they're coming up. It succeeds in tearing off a door before being put down, and they get out to see that all the cattle are either dead or dying (4). As Doug talks to the farmer and sheriff, Katherine examines one of the cows as Ben says that maybe these are the plagues, causing Katherine to launch into something like the following diatribe.

"Okay, fine, we'll talk plagues. A toxic red algae in the Nile region turns the Nile River red, rendering it uninhabitable to fish, which die, and frogs, which abandon it for land and die there. Dead frogs cause an influx in the insect population, especially of biting flies. Biting flies bring disease which they transfer to livestock and people, which kills the cows and gives the people lice and boils. The death of cattle causes locusts to be without a natural food source, making their numbers swell. At the same time, a massive three-day sandstorm hits Egypt, creating darkness. Nearby volcanic activity takes place, filling the sky with ash and brimstone. Finally, the first born child was always given the largest serving of food, making them the most susceptible to lethal bacterial diseases from food poisoning. Ten biblical plagues, ten scientific explanations."

Ben grunts and leaves Katherine to it, and he overhears the farmer telling Doug and the sheriff that he had heard chanting coming from out by the McConnel place -- Loren's home. Meanwhile, Katherine sees the farmer's son drawing a picture of the cattle with Loren in it, and he says that Loren was around the cattle earlier and lets Katherine take the picture. They go back to Doug's place (minus one car door) and retire. As Katherine looks at pictures on the computer, she hears something in the chimney. She gets up and after a VERY real vision of her husband David right next to her, followed by a flashback to her telling her daughter, "I'm so lucky, because God sent you to me," she goes to the chimney and shuts it just in time for the lights to go out. After seeing a picture of a demonic Loren on her laptop, she tries to find Doug, which she does, in the church ruins drinking something that almost tastes nothing like bourbon. They talk and she tells him that she stopped being a priest after some of the locals in the Sudan (where she was), started blaming her and her family for the year-long drought and killed her husband and daughter in sacrifice to please their God. They head back to the house and have some drunken sex. Meanwhile, over in Italy, we see Father Costigan walking about when a shadow on the wall moves and forms the shape of an angel, causing him to drop his book. A nun who saw nothing comes up to him, but he waves her off and sees that the book he was carrying fell open to a picture of many angels descending upon one little child.

The next morning, Katherine wakes up and starts cooking some eggs, but instead of an egg white it's an egg blood. She screams and sees Loren, and she starts running after her (barefoot). She falls but finds Loren just in front of her. She reaches out and touches Loren and has a vision of Loren's brother Brody (Mark Lynch) dying and wakes up in bed screaming. She goes downstairs for a drink of water but before she does she sees that she is leaving muddy footprints all over the floor. Anyway, the REAL next morning, we see Ben going over some stuff on the computer and he points out to Doug that while a cell suffering from Tularemia, which Katherine thinks it is, normally appears to have a big bite out of it, the cells from all the samples are perfectly healthy, so the animals are just fine, except for being dead. When Doug asks where Katherine is, Ben tells him that she has gone to check out the McConnells, and Doug panics and runs out, hoping to catch up.

In the swamp, Katherine is at the McConnell's cabin. Nobody seems to be home, and Katharine enters. The place is mostly a mess, with pictures of a much younger Loren in one room and a closet inside the kitchen with a hidden door with an upside-down sickle on it. She backs away and is startled by Loren. Katherine sees her bracelet on Loren and says that she can have it, and she slowly cajoles her outside so she can clean Loren up a little. As soon as the sponge touches Loren, it starts turning red, and Katherine gets another memory-vision blast before waking up to find Loren gone. She creeps back inside and meets Loren's mom Maddie (Andrea Frankle), who asks if she's there to kill Loren. Katherine looks shocked and says no, which makes Maddie ask, "Why not?" They start to talk, but Loren comes up and jumps on Maddie screaming, and Katherine pulls her off only to be told to leave. Meanwhile, Doug and Ben are in town (apparently Ben gave up on her), and are at town hall, where all the town kids are getting their heads shaven for lice (5) and looking eerily like Egyptian children. They head downstairs to do a long-awaited autopsy on Brody, but what they see makes them call Katherine over. She comes and they show her Brody's dried out husk of a body, which was apparently fine three days ago. This is enough for the sheriff, who heads out and starts rounding up a posse. Meanwhile, Ben and Doug head to the church to talk to the mayor and his associates, only to find them dead and covered with giant boils (6). Just after finding this, Katherine gets a call from Costigan. He tells her that all the first born would be marked with the sickle to keep them safe, and all the others would die, but then upon hearing that Brody was first born amends this to say that when the first born would die, the second-born (i.e., Loren) would be reborn and "have the eyes of the Devil" and that an angel (or person of God, i.e., Katherine) would also be reborn and come to stop him, and that the Devil is using the plagues, turning God's work against Him. He tries to tell her more, but his room suddenly bursts into flame and he is burned alive.

Now sufficiently freaked, Katherine burns rubber and heads for the McDonnell’s again. She bursts inside and heads for that secret door she found earlier. She breaks in and finds a cultish setup with straps and sharp tools and a crazy Maddie. Maddie says that her child is controlled by Him now, and in despair shoots herself. Before Katherine can process this, Loren shows up and starts coming down, forcing Katherine to hide in a cage in the back corner. As Loren examines her mother's corpse, Ben speaks up over the radio, and Loren heads over to see who's there. Fortunately for Katherine, she's stopped by people pulling up outside and heads upstairs. Katherine heads up and is stopped by the sound of thousands of....things....landing all over the house and yard. She opens the door and sees a huge amount of locusts (7), with Loren standing in the middle of them, apparently unconcerned. She moves her head, and the swarm starts attacking everybody, with Doug and Ben running like hell to get away. Doug falls into the river and hides there for a bit while Ben makes it the old crypt. He calls Katherine (still at the house and now armed with a rather ornate dagger) and tells her where he is, and that there are a lot of children skeletons in there with him. The locusts vanish (mostly -- a few remain) and Ben starts to head out but is stopped by Loren waiting outside. He says that he's trapped and suddenly he lets out a cry of pain, and Katherine realizes something got to him and heads over there.

At the crypt, Katherine heads inside and finds Ben dead, his skull apparently cracked open. Doug pops up behind her, soaked in blood, and he gives her a little pep talk about what now needs to be done. Katherine heads outside and sees Loren waiting and walks up to her, trying to be friendly as the sky grows suddenly pitch black (8) and starts raining balls of fire (9). Katherine screams and overpowers her, but just before she can stab her Loren says, "I'm so lucky!" Katherine stops and asks why, and Loren says, "Because God sent you to me." (FLASHBACK!) Katherine backs off and Doug comes up behind her and tells her not to listen, and says that he doesn't want to die (only child, remember?), but she stops and he eventually admits that the people in this town need proof of god, so he showed them his, and they accepted (he's in on Maddie's cult). Now all they need to do to be safe is kill Loren, but only Katherine can do that, since she's a non-believer -- anyone else who would try to kill Loren ends up like Brody. Katherine holds Loren tight and ignores him just as the skies crack open again and she realizes just how many only children there are in Haven as more fire comes down to take the first-born (10). Enraged, Doug throws Loren aside and tries to kill Katherine as his followers go up in flames. Finally, a flame comes for him, and it surrounds both him and Katherine, but doesn't touch Katherine. She falls to the ground and lapses into unconsciousness.

A few hours later, day has returned and Loren is there, worried about Katherine. Katherine gets up and takes her to her truck, and they leave town. As they head back to Katherine's home, Katherine tells Loren that it'll just be them taking care of each other. Loren is silent for a moment, then puts her head in Katherine's lap and says, "What about the other one?" Katherine asks what other one, and Loren replies, "The boy. The one inside you. We'll take care of him too, right?" Katherine's smile fades and she recalls both having sex with Doug that night and Costigan's warning that if the first born died, the second born would have the eyes -- or soul -- of the devil. She realizes that the first child she had -- her first-born, as it were -- has already died, and she looks at her stomach in fear......