I went in knowing “Season of the Witch” was getting terrible reviews, so expectations were low going in. You see, I love fantasy films and I figured that maybe those who hated the film just didn’t like the genre. Boy, was I wrong.
The movie started off well enough. During one opening scene, we see a priest sending presumed witches to an early grave by hanging them from a bridge. For a moment, you think at least two of the women are innocent, but soon that assumption is cleverly dashed.
Now, if only the rest of the film was as intelligent.
Before I go into how disappointing this film is, here’s the synopsis: Two knights of the church, Behemen (Nicolas Cage) and Felson (Ron Perlman), are given the perilous task of escorting a witch (Claire Foy) to a remote monastery where a ritual can be performed in the hopes it will rid villages from the Black Plague.
Sounds interesting enough, right? As a fan of both Ron Perlman and Nicolas Cage (Pearlman more so), I believed I was in for a good time. And for the most part, I was entertained. I overlooked the fact that both characters sounded as if they were from the 21st century and not the 14th. I even ignored some of the shoddy dialogue. After all, “Season of the Witch” is a B-movie not to be compared to say “Lord of the Rings” or “Kingdom of Heaven.” It’s definitely lighter fare.
But even with a suspension of belief, I couldn’t disregard the glaring plot holes and ridiculous ending. Frankly, the conclusion wouldn’t have been so absurd had it not been for blatant inconsistencies.
Even though the ending is pretty laughable and damn near ruins the film, I did manage to enjoy a few elements from “Season of the Witch.” The banter between Cage and Perlman is pretty funny. Without a doubt, the pair had a great time working on this project together. Director Dominic Sena (“Gone In Sixty Seconds,” “White Out”) does an excellent job establishing tension. A few scenes definitely creeped me out. Claire Foy (who is really eerie in this), aided with decent visual effects, does an impressive Linda Blair. Character actor Stephen Graham (“Public Enemies,” “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides”) is always fun to watch and fanboys and girls will definitely appreciate a cameo from a sci-fi, fantasy and horror legend.
Where I think “Season of the Witch” failed ultimately is that it tried to take itself too seriously. Had it gone all “Army of Darkness,” it would have been a better film. I mean, Nicolas Cage as a Knight from the Crusades? The film was pretty much half-way there.
Early on, we are lead to believe the witch in transport is very powerful. In one scene, while in her cage, she stops a young man from falling to his death by grabbing him by the wrist, right as he slips from the ledge. So why is it that the witch, in her true form during the film’s climax, can’t throw Behemen from its body when it is pinned against a bookcase? And also, moments before the demon is held at bay by the knight, it scorched a man to death with its wings with no difficulty.
It also made no sense as to why the witch used the knights to get to the monastery when in truth she could have done so without them. Just a simple one sentence explanation detailing why she didn’t would have sufficed, but none was given.
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