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The Reckoning Main

The Reckoning Movie Review

Written by Janine Pipe

Released by RLJE Films

the reckoning poster large

Directed by Neil Marshall
Written by Edward Evers-Swindell, Charlotte Kirk, Neil Marshall
2020, 110 minutes, Not Rated
Released on February 5th, 2021

Charlotte Kirk as Grace Haverstock
Joe Anderson as Joseph
Sean Pertwee as Moorcroft
Stephen Waddington as Pendleton

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Sometimes you build a movie up so much, when you actually come to watch it, it can only be a let-down, a disappointment.

Dog Soldiers is my all-time favourite horror movie and The Descent is easily Top Ten, maybe even Top Five. So, when I heard that Neil Marshall had not only made a new film, he’d teamed up again with the legend himself, Mr Sean Pertwee, well, I may have danced a little jig (I am British after all).

And then I saw a still from The Reckoning and realised it was historical. Now I was in two-minds. You see, I’m not a horror snob, but historical stuff can be very dry. It isn’t my favourite in any genre, let alone horror. How would Marshall inject his usual character-driven plot into this?

However, upon closer inspection, I discovered it is in fact set in 1665 and about witches, literally my favourite time period and subject for anything set in the past. Now, I was excited again.

Wanting to be all proper journalist-y and professional, I sat with a notepad as I watched the film, intending to take detailed notes so as to produce and erudite and profound precise of the film…

What I actually ended up writing was the following:

  • Sean Pertwee = amazing ‘tash (moustache - just to be clear here)
  • Scene with wagon wheel – High Five
  • Pear of Anguish – toe-curling torture
  • Ending = YES!

There we have it, ladies and gents! There was of course a reason I didn’t end up with pages full of notes and no, not because I’m lazy – because the film is bloody brilliant. I was too captivated by what was happening on the screen to write much.

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The story follows a young woman called Grace (played by Charlotte Kirk) during the times of the Black Death. Her husband has sadly died, yet somehow both she and her baby didn’t catch the pestilence. This is deemed highly suspicious. After spurning the advances of the squire, it is obvious there is only one reason behind it all – she must be a witch! Cue calling in top judge and witchfinder general Mr Pertwee and well, you know where this is going…

It is beautifully acted and feels very authentic. The settings are awesome, from the rolling fields in the villages, to the ‘olde worlde’ town buildings right up to the squire’s castle and dungeons. The dialogue is entertaining and although the story is tried and tested, it works because of the historical accuracies. No, it doesn’t have the humour of Dog Soldiers or the jump-out-of-your-seat scares of The Descent. But in many ways, The Reckoning is the most frightening of Marshall’s work so far because it is based on actual events. People were tortured, hanged, and burnt because people thought they were witches – in fact, one of the end credits says over 500,000 across Europe.

And that remains far scarier than werewolves and cave crawlers.

All in all, The Reckoning is fantastic. You might not get nightmares and you will unlikely wet yourself laughing, but it is a brilliant piece of cinematography with a select few very well-done effects which will please any gore fan.

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Movie: 5 Star Rating Cover
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