The Reaping is a 2007 Religious Horror film starring Hilary Swank, Idris Elba and AnnaSophia Robb. Swank plays Katherine Winter, a former Christian Missionary who investigates and debunks claims of miracles. She and her colleague Ben (Elba) are called to the Louisiana town of Haven, whose town people claim to be suffering a biblical plague caused by a young girl named Loren (Robb).
The Reaping provides examples of the following tropes:
- Agent Mulder: Ben, a Christian believer, plays this role in his and Katherine's investigations. Very much like her, he has personal reasons for his opinions on God.
- Agent Scully: Katherine is the skeptical part of his team.
- Artistic License Biology: Members of the Satanic cult sacrifice all their children to Satan, except for the firstborn, who are inducted into the cult, to ensure the cult itself can survive. In reality, you would need (on average) two offspring to survive (and reproduce) per couple just for the population to remain stable. Even if the cultists recruit outsiders to marry the kids they don't sacrifice, attrition would still wipe them out, as some of each generation are likely to die, fail to reproduce at all, or leave the cult.
- This might be avoided if the entire cult were poly and the firstborn of each pairing was allowed to live, but then why would any mother choose to have two children with the same father?
- Bittersweet Ending: At the end of the film, a Satanic cult has been destroyed, a creature of God has been saved, Katherine has regained her faith and she has a new surrogate daughter. Then it's revealed that she is pregnant with The Anti-Christ.
- Creepy Child: For most of the film, Loren is a mute child with weird eyes and a vibe of something... wrong.
- Devil, but No God: Played with. Most of the paranormal events of the film are attributed to the Devil, but they are actually acts of God, specifically through an angel. That said, the Devil is not absent, as he stills makes his presence felt by incinerating Father Costigan.
- Does Not Like Shoes: Loren goes around the woods barefoot and not caring much. It's revealed in a flashback that she probably lost her shoes in the swamp after the attempt on her life by her brother.
- Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Apparently subverted with Loren, and finally played straight.
- Human Sacrifice: Once secondborn (and possibly later children) reach puberty they are sacrificed.
- Mystical Plague: The town of Haven claims to be suffering the biblical plagues of Egypt, which is the reason Katherine is there. They are revealed to be Loren's angelic power.
- No Periods, Period: Averted; Loren has her first period in front of Katherine, which later becomes a plot point.
- Our Angels Are Different: Father Costigan believes Katherine is a metaphorical angel sent by God. Then it turns out that Loren is the angel, and a much more literal example.