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155. The Reckoning; movie review

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Title : 155. The Reckoning; movie review
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Cert 15
100 mins
BBFC advice: Contains strong bloody violence, disturbing images, sexual threat

In 1665, the Great Plague swept Europe and killed hundreds of thousands.
I didn't expect such a phrase to sound quite so familiar. Thanks to coronavirus, we have learned we are as susceptible to nature's whims as we were hundreds of years ago.
Fortunately, our pestilence, Covid-19,  hasn't been accompanied by religious zealots believing that it is a result of 'the devil's work'.
The consequence of this conviction back in the 17th century was the many thousands of witchhunts against women who were either tortured, burned at the stake or both.
It is against this background that Neil Marshall has set The Reckoning, a horror which plummets the depths of depravity employed by the establishment against those they feared were vessels of evil spirits.
Charlotte Kirk stars as Grace Haverstock who is struggling to keep her head financially above water after the death of her beloved husband (Joe Anderson).
She rejects the advances of the grubby local squire (Steven Waddington), so he takes retribution by accusing her publicly of being a witch.
He also calls in the merciless Judge Moorcroft (Sean Pertwee) - an expert in extracting confessions.
This is all pretty scary for Grace - a new mum who fears for her baby child as well as herself.
I enjoyed Pertwee's portrayal of the witchfinder - a man who genuinely seems to believe that his is God's work, regardless of how barbaric it seems.
However, there are clunky elements to The Reckoning. For starters, Grace's dialogue is too cliched and her reaction to extreme pain and physical trauma is unrealistic.
I recommend a visit to the Museum of Medieval Torture in Prague and can assure you from what I saw that nobody would have their full faculties after a session on the rack or being assaulted by a metal implement designed to extract a confession.
Nevertheless, I was on edge throughout, hoping that she would somehow extricate herself from her plight.
And overall,  The Reckoning gives a flavour of those very strange times, makes us realise that our brush with history isn't nearly as intense.

Reasons to watch: A different take on the great plague
Reasons to avoid: The acting isn't always as fluid as it might be

Laughs: None
Jumps: None
Vomit: None
Nudity: Yes
Overall rating: 6/10

Did you know? 
Witch fever gripped East Anglia for 14 terrible months between 1645 – 1646. Matthew Hopkins, an unsuccessful lawyer, became known as the Witchfinder General and had 68 people put to death in Bury St. Edmunds alone and 19 hanged at Chelmsford in a single day. Aldeburgh paid him £6 for clearing the town of witches, Kings Lynn £15 and Stowmarket £23. This was at a time when the daily wage was 2.5p.

The final word. Neil Marshall: "“Of course, when we made the film we had no idea a plague was coming as well. We shot this in 2019 so we had no clue but that angle has made it seem more relevant." iHorror


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