Fantasia 2020: “The Reckoning”

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

It is the unfortunate truth that there was a time when if a man couldn’t ‘own’ a woman, he would call her wicked or a witch. Is it because the woman was strong enough to oppose his advances and say ‘no’ to his offers and the promises of a good life? I don’t really know. But what I do know is that it takes courage to stand against the strong and, sadly, not each time the powerful would get defeated easily.

Set in England in 1665, the country has just gone through the plague. Thousands of people died but those who are still alive live in constant fear. The Catholic Church sees this as an opportunity, as the population turns to superstition to get some hope. The Church’s gruesome and vicious hunt turns against strong women. Grace just became a widow, losing her husband to a terrible disease. Left alone to raise her infant child, her neighbors look at her with suspicion. But there is one man who has an eye for her, her landlord Squire Pendleton. He asks her to pay her debt through a sexual favor but when she resists, he accuses her of witchcraft, pitting her alone against the church where she is asked to prove her innocence.

“The Reckoning” is a solid historical drama with elements of horror that can be appreciated by  film lovers. British director Neil Marshall delivers another historical context in such a grim way. Charlotte Kirk as Grace is favorable as she gives her best performance portraying a woman who has to fight against the corrupt system, which happened to be a Church. Some scenes are gruesome but shows what it has to in order to paint an eerie image of 1655. As it’s based on actual events, the film captures the hardship of women and how they would get prosecuted and sentenced to death for being labeled a witch.

That said, “The Reckoning” may not be one of the greatest films of all time but can fall into a shortlist of must watch films of the already plagued 2020. From sound and direction to the editing and performance, the film offers an entertaining and terrifying journey so the audience can watch the nightmare unfold right before their eyes by being transported into an era that would target women  with no empathy or compassion whatsoever.

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