Season of the Witch

The Black Death was one of the world's deadliest plagues, killing approximately half of the European population during the 14th century. Behmmen (Nicholas Cage) and Felson (Ron Perlman) are knights during the Crusade who have deserted the holy army and are traveling back home where they see firsthand the destruction the plague has caused. There, they agree to escort a young girl (Claire Foy) who has been accused of being a witch and the source of the disease to a monastery so the monks there can lift the curse that has plagued the land.

Season of the Witch present many themes; medieval witch trials, good vs. evil, the power of the church, but it never fully pieces them together in a well thought out manner. Many scenes, especially towards the beginning, seem like they are included just to fluff up the film and don't move the story forward at all. We get it; war is never pretty. There's no need to force feed this to us. We also don't need to see Christopher Lee do his best Elephant Man impression while men in Mardi Gras masks stand around him.

What the film does manage to succeed in is its portrayal of witches. Right from the start you'll see that these aren't your stereotypical old hags brewing stange concoctions in massive cauldrons. No, these witches are powerful beast that can conjure up fire and make animals bend to their every will. Perhaps the best performance comes from Foy as the young girl accused of witchcraft.

With Foy, you're always wondering whether she is just another girl falsely accused of being a witch or if she's the real deal. One minute she has this cute and innocent look on her face while the next she'll have the most evil smile you'll ever see. She's a trickster and a deceiver, yet you'll still want to rescue her from the cage she's locked in. That's how convincing she can be.

Cage and Perlman work well when they are together. The light and sometimes comical banter that goes on between them can be refreshing. Separate them though, and the whole thing falls apart. At times it was so ridiculous that I wondered if they were going to weigh the girl with a duck and just get it over with.

Season of the Witch has some interesting concepts and the acting is tolerable enough to make it worth a rental on a lazy afternoon but as far as the theater is concerned, this is one film you can pass up. Unfortunately not all souls can be saved, and that includes this film.

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Matt Rodriguez
Review by Matt Rodriguez
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