SEASON OF THE WITCH - Let It Pass
SEASON OF THE WITCH (fantasy thriller)
Cast: Nicolas Cage, Ron Perlman, Stephen Campbell Moore, Stephen Graham, Ulrich Thomsen, Robert Sheehan, Claire Foy, Christopher Lee, Rebekah Kennedy, Andrew Hefler and Fernanda Dorogi
Director: Dominic Sena
Screenplay: Bragi F. Schut
Time: 113 mins
Rating: * * (out of 4)
PREAMBLE: January is always the season of doldrums at the cinema - and my 30-plus years of
involvement in the industry have confirm it. January is the time for the studios to dump their trash flicks because it is the off-season (the back-to-work after the holidays period) and nobody dares to put up potential blockbusters at this time. So we get nonsensical stuff like Season Of The Witch...
WHAT'S IT ABOUT: 14th Century Crusader Behman (Nicolas Cage) and his close friend, Felson (Ron Perlman), return to their homeland to find it devastated by the Black Plague. The church believes that sorcery is the culprit of the disease and Cardinal D'Ambroise (Christopher Lee in zombie make-up) commands the two knights to transport an accused witch (Claire Foy, pictured) to a remote abbey, where monks will perform a ritual to end the pestilence.
They are accompanied by a resolute priest (Stephen Campbell Moore) and his sidekick (Ulrich Thomsen), then joined by an altar boy (Robert Sheehan) who is determined to become a knight. Of course the mission is plagued by mythically hostile forces, not to mention fierce contention over the fate of the girl. When the party finally 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.
HITS & MISSES: I have admired the talents of Cage in his earlier movies. However, he seems to be mired in a lot of crap productions lately and this happens to be another of them. Maybe all he wants is to make as much dough as he can to pay off debts. For a start, the script is messy with illogical plotting and inane dialogue. An all-powerful witch who allows herself to be thus treated?
The screenplay by Bragi F. Schut is full of cliched 'horrors' like ravenous wolves, flying zombie monks and the standard rickety suspension bridge which somehow offers the only realistic suspense in the whole movie. Oh yes, the make-up folks had a great time making pus ooze from Christopher Lee's face, and Cage and Perlman try to have fun taking jibes at each other, and someone even exclaimed "We're gonna need more holy water" in relation to the CGI excesses that director Dominic Sena throws at the screen.
Some of the scenes (and lines) are unintentionally laughable and the most horrifying scene to many people is the sight of Cage's long uncontrollable hair.
THE LOWDOWN: Let this Season of Nonsense pass us by.