A horrible sickness is plaguing the land of England. The Reckoning follows Grace (Charlotte Kirk), who makes the awful discovery that her husband killed himself after becoming sick. Feeling it was the only way to protect Grace and their child, he has now left her alone to look after their baby and earn money.
After refusing to submit herself to her landlord, a rumour is soon spread around the community that Grace is, in fact, a witch and cursed her husband, which is why he killed himself. Soon Grace is arrested due to these false claims and thrown into jail for a crime she never committed. Given the title of witch, she is forced to go through various trials and suffers physical torture dished out by a violent witch hunter. This witch hunter is determined to do everything within his power to make Grace confess her so-called lies and reveal her true self.
Visually, The Reckoning is rather pleasing. For most of the runtime, the film is positive to watch, capturing Medieval times in England quite nicely with the dark and gritty tones. The audio track is also great. The film even managed to get me to jump out of my skin during several moments when Grace begins to suffer from horrific nightmares whilst locked up in jail.
The plot, for the most part, is pleasing. The film’s opening is beautiful. It introduces us to Grace with a powerful montage, allowing us to witness her discovery of her husband and burying him. The performance from actress Charlotte Kirk as Grace is ok. Some line deliveries are undoubtedly questionable, but I can see the actress is generally trying, especially during haunting moments. Side performance from actor Sean Pertwee, who plays John the Witch Hunter, are excellent. Sean brings an outstanding performance, his character never giving up on getting Grace to reveal what he believes to be her true self.
As for any significant negatives, the film drags on during the second act. This act generally consists of viewers watching Grace get questioned, tortured and having glimpses of her nightmares. These scenes overstay their welcome, and as viewers, we know something big is building and brewing towards the third act. But the duration to get there is quite painful and hurts the film significantly. I felt the second act should have been reduced in length.
Overall, The Reckoning makes a substantial effort as a horror film. It gets a few elements right, such as its dark visuals and fun audio track, which made me jump several times. But unfortunately, performances, for the most part, are just ok. The film second act is an ultimate let down as it drags on far longer than it needed and feels repetitive even when it’s building towards a final showdown in its third and last act.
The Reckoning (2020) Available on Blu-ray & DVD from April 21st!
The Reckoning (2020) is also Available on Shudder US, Shudder CA and Shudder UKI from May 13th!