Director – Neil Marshall (Dog Soldiers, Tales of Halloween)
Starring – Charlotte Kirk (Fractured, Ocean’s Eight), Steven Waddington (Sleepy Hollow, Halo: Nightfall), and Sean Pertwee (Event Horizon, Dog Soldiers)
Release Date – 2020
Rating – 2.5/5
Neil Marshall is one of the most underrated genre filmmakers of our time. Dog Soldiers is one of the best, if not the best, werewolf films of the last 30 years. The Descent gained him some widespread fame but Doomsday is one of the most overlooked sci-fi thrillers of recent years. Films aside, he’s also directed episodes of Constantine, Hannibal, Game of Thrones, Black Sails, and West World.
When I saw that RLJE was releasing his new period piece horror tale centered around witch trials and the plague I knew I had to see it. I reached out and they were kind enough to send a review copy of the film my way to check out.
**Spoiler Alert** The film follows a young woman who has an infant daughter when her husband who becomes ill and kills himself. Struggling with money and facing eviction, she tries to borrow it but fails. Her landlord and local squire is forcing himself on her in order to help her with her debt. When she refuses he labels her a witch and convinces the townsfolk of the same when he points out that her husband became ill with the plague while she did not. She is taken in and tortured until she confesses but the witchfinder general is unable to break her. **Spoiler Alert**
I went into this one really fucking excited. I had just watched the amazing horror anthology The Mortuary Collection and was looking forward to whatever Marshall brought my way. Sadly, the movie has a lot to say but says it in the most boring manner. I really wanted to like this one but when it was all said and done I found myself very unimpressed.
The acting in this one is great. Kirk was fantastic as the window, mother, and accused witch. She brings so much emotion to the role and you really feel it. When she cries you beleive those are real tears. Her performance definetly impacts the story. The supporting cast is just as fantastic as well. The characters are all very well written and the cast does a fantastic job.
The story for this one is a story that I could really get behind. I fucking love horror tales centered around witches but this one proved to be a bit of a boring experience. It did have a few nice twists here and there but the film itself is rather uneventful. The scenes drag on with dull dialogue that makes the lackluster film feel as if it will last an enternity.
Finally, the film has some bloody moments that fit with the film very well. The supernatural dream sequences look great and utilize some fun make-up effects but the lack of gore and plague ridden bodies is a bit of a disappointment. Overall, The Reckoning is alright for a first time watch but nowhere near as memorable as it could have been. This is a real missed opportunity here.