Neil Marshall is known for making a splash early in his career with his debut werewolf movie Dog Soldiers before following up with caving horror The Descent, still frequently talked about as one of horror's best. His work since has been up and down, with time spent in the world of TV on shows including some of Game of Thrones' bigger episodes. After his last feature, a redo of Hellboy which disappointed amid studio meddling, The Reckoning is championed as his big return to the horror genre. It is with great disappointment that not only is it not back among his best, but it’s his worst film to date.
After the death of her husband, Grace Haverstock (Charlotte Kirk) is accused of being a witch. She’s put on trial and subject to torture by the townsfolk and a witch Hunter (Sean Pertwee).
It becomes obvious very quickly that The Reckoning isn’t going to meet expectations. Immediately you’ll struggle with the poor acting from the lead Charlotte Kirk, a performance that at best feels like melodrama, and at worst makes it seem like scenes following each other have no connection to what’s previously happened. Things aren’t helped by a script filled with tin eared dialogue and an overbearing score that always seems to be reaching for emotion. And though the filmmaking and editing is serviceable, it doesn’t feel like the hand of a director who seemed so natural and in control of his previous work. Thank the Lord then for Sean Pertwee who brings some genuine acting talent to the screen along with an enjoyably tall hat.
There’s a good film to be made from the history of the witch trials, a time of fear and violence where simple accusations and disagreements led to horrific torture and murder, acts brought from the very depths of humanity, but The Reckoning never delivers on the premise.
Release Date: April 16th