A 14th century Crusader returns with his comrade to a homeland devastated by the Black Plague. The Church commands the two knights to transport a witch to a remote abbey, where monks will perform a ritual in hopes of ending the pestilence.
It never received very god critics and I have to say it wasn’t the best film that I have seen, even though Nicolas Cage is one of my favorite actors. Then again, I never really like it when my favorite actors die at the end of the movie. Also the CGI, especially at the end of the film, was of rather mediocre quality.
Anyway, on the whole it was a fairly nice medieval sword swinging fantasy/supernatural action flick and not at all as bad as the critics tried to make it but then I’m not really surprised that the critics are off-whack as usual.
RELEASED IN EARLY 2011 and directed by Dominic Sena, "Season of the Witch" chronicles events when two ex-Teutonic Knight crusaders (Nicolas Cage & Ron Pearlman) traveling through Styria in modern-day Austria are enlisted to escort an alleged witch suspected of causing the black death (Claire Foy) to a remote monastery in the mountains for trial and to hopefully stop the devastating plague. Stephen Campbell Moore (Debelzaq), Stephen Graham (Hagamar) and Robert Sheehan (Kay) accompany the Knights.
This is basically the American version of “Black Death,” a European film released around the same time. Both movies are dark, gritty and brutal in their depictions of Medieval Europe, but “Season of the Witch” is more of a stereotypical blockbuster with modish protagonists, amusing one-liners and CGI-laden climax. “Black Death” is deeper, more thought-provoking and realistic, which is why I give it the edge in overall value (see my review).
“Season” is the more conventionally entertaining movie and anyone who appreciates Dark Ages-based flicks are highly encouraged to check it out. Films which come to mind include “In the Name of the Rose” (1986), “Kingdom of Heaven” (2005), “Robin Hood” (2010), “Ironclad” (2011), “King Arthur” (2004), “Dragonslayer” (1981), “Red Riding Hood” (2011), "Tristan + Isolde" (2006) and “Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves” (1991). It’s as good, or better, than any of these.
The Medieval cinematography (castles, dungeons, villages, dark forests and breathtaking mountains) is mind-blowing and the two protagonists are great with their amusing rapport. Furthermore, Foy is easy-on-the-eyes. Look out for a thrilling rope-bridge crossing a la “Sorcerer” (1977). Although the climax is over-the-top cartoony, the tone up to that point is quasi-realistic.
THE MOVIE RUNS 1 hour 35 minutes and was shot in Austria, Hungary and Croatia with reshoots done in Louisiana. WRITERS: Bragi F. Schut. ADDITIONAL CAST: Christopher Lee is almost unrecognizable as the plague-ridden Cardinal D'Ambroise.