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Season of the Witch

A movie directed by Dominic Sena

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OK, on to next season.

  • Jul 9, 2011
*1/2 out of ****

I almost don't want to call Dominic Sena's "Season of the Witch" a bad film. It is, in fact, NOT a remake of the George Romero film of the same name; but as an original work, it still lacks the grit and enthusiasm that could have made it work. It treats serious subjects with near apathy, the actors never seem into it, and frankly, the whole thing just stinks. It's not the worst movie I will see this year, but it is still slow, ponderous, and stupid. Now, with that ponderous bit, I have a really big problem; the film is slowly paced, as if it is indeed pondering something, but none of us decent human beings can really see what the film is trying to, well, ponder. This becomes a problem, as "Season of the Witch" takes itself seriously to the point where the whole tone backfires, and the film becomes a silly one.

This could have made for an interesting movie. The film stars Nicolas Cage and Ron Perlman as two ex-crusaders, who have just fought many battles, which are rather conveniently named and subtitled when we see them being ever-so-quickly fought. After pretty much leaving the other crusaders, the two lone warriors get a little bit of good ol' "guy-buddy time", and they also happen upon a plague-ridden area, in which there is a young woman being convicted of starting the disease. She is accused of being a witch. Our two main hero characters agree to help deliver her to a monastery, where the demonic forces inside of her can be cleansed, and the girl can be saved.

Let's talk about the plague for a second. I saw "Black Death" about a week back, and I thought it was a good movie that treated its subject matter with respect. It was even a little insightful, on a thematic level, in ways that "Season of the Witch" is not. The problem with this flick, when it comes to the plague, is that it treats one of the most historically important cataclysms as some sort of road-side attraction. The witch is what matters, although shouldn't the surrounding make for some good historical commentary? Given that the plague is everywhere in this particular journey, I would think so.

However, to my surprise, this does not begin as bad of a movie as it ends. It starts out decently, if not in an underwritten matter. I still can't say I ever, not for even a moment, liked this movie; but it had something going for it, and it may have been its premise. Then, I was caught off guard; this was all an illusion. I realized this when the filmmakers unleashed CGI wolves and humanoid bat demons onto the characters, and onto the audience's senses. These are unpleasant moments, because all the computer-generated-imagery in this film looks horrible. Absolutely horrible. It's stupid, and I've seen better from even worse movies.

I like Nic Cage, and I like Ron Perlman, but only when Cage is in "Bat Lieutenant Mode" and Perlman is in "Hellboy Mode". What mode are they in here? Snooze mode? Because their performances didn't even stand out. Granted, each has done worse; and each has landed themselves worse movies overall, but shit, I didn't expect them to be so boring. The same can be said to their supporting stars, who are rather indecent in their delivery.

If this is a horror-thriller, then it is considerably short on atmosphere. If it is historical, as a film, then it is short on intelligence or commentary. It lacks a good reason to exist, if only because the filmmaker behind it is completely incapable of making it work. I've seen better "so-bad-it's-good" movies. Come on people; make good movies out of good material. We don't need more movies like "Season of the Witch", but then again maybe we do. After all; how else would that seldom seen success feel so darned special?

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More Season of the Witch reviews
review by . January 08, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
2 ½ Stars: A Medieval Horror-Occult Action-Fantasy That is Not A
I’ve seen so many brilliant and depressing dramas the past few weeks that I thought I’d go for something more action-oriented and maybe even a little bit spooky this weekend. Well, a friend had told me that seeing a Nic Cage flick is like a signature of mediocrity these days, but hey, sometimes I need to see something I don’t need to think too much about. All the depressing films I’ve seen can give a popcorn film a new light of appreciation I hope. After the films “Kick-Ass” …
review by . January 08, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Star Rating:         What we have here is a bit of a contradiction: A historical drama that exposes the hypocrisy of the Church and a supernatural thriller that confirms the existence of evil demonic forces. This is clearly not a matter of what the filmmakers would have us believe, but even in terms of pure entertainment, I’m puzzled as to how anyone thought both messages could be sent in the same story. One can be taken seriously. The other cannot. Season of …
Quick Tip by . April 03, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Nothing spectacular nor exceptional. Predictable tale and some gruesome cosmetic effects. Keep your $$$ and watch it on Netflix if you're into horror movie. Otherwise, don't bother to waste the time!
Quick Tip by . January 07, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
I'm really hoping that this turns out to be as interesting as it looks. There haven't been many good Medieval epics and this one reminds me quite a bit of a subplot in "The Seventh Seal". However, it stars Nic Cage which is kind of like the kiss of death these days.
About the reviewer
Ryan J. Marshall ()
Ranked #11
It's very likely that the only kind of reviews I'll ever post here are movie reviews. I'm very passionate about film; and at this point, it pretty much controls my life. Film gives us a purpose; … more
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About this movie


14th-century knights transport a suspected witch to a monastery, where monks deduce her powers could be the source of the Black Plague.

A 14th century Crusader returns to a homeland devastated by the Black Plague. A beleaguered church, deeming sorcery the culprit of the plague, commands the two knights to transport an accused witch to a remote abbey, where monks will perform a ritual in hopes of ending the pestilence. A priest, a grieving knight, a disgraced itinerant and a headstrong youth who can only dream of becoming a knight join a mission troubled by mythically hostile wilderness and fierce contention over the fate of the girl. When the embattled party arrives at the abbey, a horrific discovery jeopardises the knight's pledge to ensure the girl fair treatment, and pits them against an inexplicably powerful and destructive force.Written by Momentum Pictures
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Director: Dominic Sena
Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Sci-Fi
Release Date: 7 January 2011 (USA)
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Screen Writer: Bragi F. Schut
Runtime: 95 min
Studio: Atlas Entertainment, Relativity Media
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"A Contradiction in Sermons"
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