DVD Review: The Reckoning - (2020)

By , Contributor
There's a lot of history in the background of director Neil Marshall's The Reckoning. Marshall delivered a terrifically tense horror thriller back in 2005 with The Descent. As recently as 2019 he was on the mainstream radar with the Hellboy reboot, an underperformer in every way. The Reckoning is set in England, 1665, during the Great Plague. Grace (Charlotte Kirk, Ocean's 8) has lost her husband to the Black Death. Now she's fallen under suspicion of witchcraft as a result.

What follows is basically a dark portrayal of the torture of Grace at the hands of Moorcroft (Sean Pertwee, Pennyworth on TV's Gotham), who has been tasked with hunting down accused "witches." These attempts to purge Grace of evil influences are depicted in rather graphic detail. Eventually, Grace begins turning the tables and commits similarly gruesome acts as she exacts revenge. As the running time pushes past 90 and closer to two hours, the thin plot poses an increasing problem. The Reckoning drags, with the lack of real surprises in the storyline creating a big problem.

On the other hand, for a relatively low budget film, the production design is quite strong. The costuming often looks a little too off-the-rack to convey Plague-era 17th century, but overall the visuals are interesting (the film was shot in Budapest). Also compelling is Kirk's determined, edgy performance (she co-scripted with Marshall, furthering her obvious commitment to the project).

The Reckoning is a mixed bag, really. If grim historical horror-drama interests you (and really this isn't a horror film, per se, but definitely graphic enough to warrant a hyphenate), give it a shot. The film has racked up an impressive litany of wins from various film festivals since premiering last year. It's available on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital on April 6.

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Chaz Lipp writes for The Morton Report.

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