British director Neil Marshall made his name doing two things: spine-chilling horror monster movies like Dog Soldiers and The Descent, and big budget VFX-heavy action spectacles like Game of Thrones. So naturally, when a chance came along to reboot Hellboy – a comic book property comprise of monster horror and VFX-heavy action – he seemed perfect for the job. Just one problem: That movie sucked! I’m yet to actually sit through it all the way to the end despite trying four times now as it’s just so bad.
But one terrible movie isn’t going to stop Marshall though, which brings us to The Reckoning. The upcoming horror film sees the filmmaker returning to the more smaller-scaled British horror that first kicked off his career, as he tells a tale set during the Great Plague in the 17th century which sees a widow falsely accused of being a devil-worshipping witch and subjected to cruel torture because of it, only for some devilish evil to really take an interest in her. Check out the trailer below.
After losing her husband during the Great Plague, Grace Haverstock (Charlotte Kirk) is unjustly accused of being a witch and placed in the custody of England’s most ruthless witch-hunter, Judge Moorcroft (Sean Pertwee). Forced to endure physical and emotional torture while steadfastly maintaining her innocence, Grace must face her own inner demons as the Devil himself starts to work his way into her mind.
Firstly, I think that looks decent. Nothing mindblowing, but the type of smaller-scaled nailbiter I can see myself enjoying at home. So it’s a good thing that it will now be getting a simultaneous VOD and theatrical release before also showing up on horror-centric streaming service Shudder.
Secondly, I have to wonder that when Marshall conceived a film about a witch hunt set during the Great Plague, whether he was inspired by his own involvement in a witch hunt during a great plague. Marshall co-wrote The Reckoning with the film’s star Charlotte Kirk, a British-born Australian actress who is also his fiancée. But their relationship went through a very public and disastrous debacle last year that resulted in major fallout in Hollywood. It began when NBCUniversal Vice Chairman Ron Meyer abruptly resigned after a long and respected tenure after he revealed that an unnamed individual was trying to blackmail him about going public over a “consensual” extramarital affair he had engaged in eight years prior. This just a year after Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara also stepped down due to an investigation into his romantic involvement with an actress whom he stood accused of wrongfully favouring with career opportunies. As it was eventually revealed, Meyer’s “unnamed individual” and Tsujihara’s actress was the same person: Charlotte Kirk.
While Meyer had reportedly reached a financial settlement with Kirk, in the months following his resignation it was also alleged that Marshall, as well as Kirk’s former boyfriend Joshua Newton, had separately tried to extort Meyer for money over details of the exec’s affair with Kirk. Marshall strongly denied the accusation while Newton refused to comment publicly but the damage was done as Marshall was dropped by his talent agency Verve and had to step out of the public eye for a bit. It was during this hiatus in the early part of 2020 that he and Kirk worked on The Reckoning and I’ll be very interested to see if the movie doesn’t perhaps contain some light allegories in its scenes of torture and horror. Hopefully, it’s at least as twisty and surprising as the public brouhaha that preceded it.
The Reckoning is set for theatrical and VOD release on 5 February 2021.
Last Updated: January 6, 2021