The Reckoning (2020) reviews and overview

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[Total: 40   Average: 2.3/5]

‘Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live’

The Reckoning is a 2020 British horror feature film about a widowed, grieving young woman accused of being a witch who also has own personal demons.

Directed by Neil Marshall (Hellboy; The Descent; Dog Soldiers) from a screenplay co-written with Edward Evers-Swindell and Charlotte Kirk. The latter stars alongside Sean Pertwee, Joe Anderson, Steven Waddington, Mark Ryan, Ian Whyte, Emma Holzer and Emma Campbell-Jones.

Plot:

England, 1665: Against the backdrop of the Great Plague and subsequent witch-hunts against women, Grace Haverstock must grapple with the tragic untimely death of her husband Joseph in a society completely consumed by fear and death. Because she rejects her landlord Squire Pendleton’s advances, she is falsely accused of being a witch and thrown in jail for a crime she didn’t commit.

Grace must endure physical persecution at the hands of England’s most ruthless witch-hunter Judge Moorcroft and face her own inner demons as the Devil himself starts to work his way into her mind…

Reviews [click links to read more]:

“It’s clear The Reckoning is meant to be a star vehicle for Kirk  — she’s made up and shot like a model even while in a squalid prison, and we’re meant to be rooting for her when she eventually gets to turn the tables on those who have imprisoned and tortured her. But the film is simply too hokey to take seriously — it almost feels like an ultra-gory Lifetime movie…” Bad Feeling Magazine

” …it’s nowhere near the misfire that Hellboy was. The film looks good and is shot well, particularly for audiences with an affinity for torture. Alas, the central conflict between witchfinder and accused witch proves too safe and repetitive to be truly memorable.” Bloody Disgusting

“There are a lot of good ideas at play in this movie, and some overall great performances across the board, but with the muddled execution, lack of focus, and an uncomfortable male gaze throughout what should be a story of female suffering and eventual triumph leave a sour taste in my mouth.” CGM Backlot Magazine

” …The Reckoning feels like a formulaic Hollywood blockbuster-type film. And while every turn of the plot is a predictable one, it’s a contradiction because it’s a satisfying historical-horror-adventure film. Grace’s story is a captivating one, and while there are some very uncomfortable moments, there are also some enjoyable bits of drama and high-stakes action.” Daily Dead

” …The Reckoning came with high expectations. But it feels a tad disjointed, with a passable yet overall underwhelming climax. It is a fairly effective film with solid performances and a thoughtfully constructed, historically relevant story that rings a bit too true at the present moment. But in the grander scheme of Marshall’s work, it may get left in isolation.” iHorror

“Grace is lovely throughout, but there is no connection to the character, and her journey from punished to punisher becomes tiresome […] The Reckoning is a timely tale that uses hot trends to serve a cool platter. Period, Folk Horror and Witchcraft are absolute sells, but the film doesn’t actually take us down any dark, unexplored alleys. It gives us the Coles Notes and calls it a day.” Nightmare on Film Street

“Disguising itself as a feminist fist-pump future cult classic, but unveiling its true form as just some trashy piece of genre filmmaking, Marshall’s depiction of a real human tragedy is almost insensitively bad. Making matters even more eye-rolling, the forgetful nature of The Reckoning is nearly a tragedy.” On the Clock

Release:

The Reckoning will premiere as part of the 2020 virtual-to-Canada-only Fantasia festival, where screenings will be geo-restricted to the home country and tickets will only be sold to those with Canadian IP addresses.

Background:

Director Neil Marshall discussed the project At The Sun, where he explained actress Charlotte Kirk’s challenges working on set: “She’s literally being doused in water and tied up to torture devices and persecuted on a daily basis.” Marshall also mentioned the reality of the film, saying “It’s an amazing story based on true events… and survival with a very, very dark horror story around it.”

Cast and characters:

Charlotte Kirk … Grace Haverstock
Sean Pertwee … Moorcroft
Joe Anderson … Joseph
Ian Whyte … The Devil
Steven Waddington … Pendleton
Cal MacAninch … Ben Tuttle
Mark Ryan … Peck
Emma Holzer … Leonora
Rick Warden … Rev. Malcolm
Leon Ockenden … Morton
Emma Campbell-Jones … Jane Hawthorne
Jordan Long … Watkins
Bill Fellows … Sutter
Oliver Trevena … Crowley
Indianna Ryan … Astrid

Related:

Burn Witch, Burn! Witchfinders on the Screen – article

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