Sunday, 9 January 2011

Season of the Witch

There are times I go to the cinema just hoping that a movie will be every bit as bad as I dreamed it would be, that it would be so unintentionally funny it becomes borderline genius and that a new Pathfinder would be found so it was with nervous anticipation that The Nerdy Trio left Spanish Class twenty minutes early to attend an “appointment” also known as the day we skipped class to see Season of the Witch

PLOT: Nicolas Cage played Behman an unashamedly America Knight who fought in the Crusades with his best pal Felson (Ron Perlman). The two friends decide that they are no longer interested in partaking in this religious war any further after Behman kills a woman in the heat of battle and subsequently blames God for his own incompetence.
Behman and Felson travel through a rather muddy Europe which has been infested with American Accents and the Black Plague which has also arrived about a century too soon.
Our fearless heroes are told by a stranger that the suspected death toll from The Black Plague is between “three and four”. I misunderstood the gravity of the death toll as I found this to be not bad going but Nicolas Cage was attempting to portray shock and alarm.
Behman and Felson are arrested for desertion and are given the choice of impending death or escorting a witch to the Mountain Where The Monks Live in order that she can be tried as the witch solely responsible for The Black Plague.
They unfortunately choose the latter and off they set.
There are bad CGI werewolves, a rickety suspension bridge which creates an unsuspenseful set piece, possessed Monks, Demons, exorcism incantations and in an unusual turn of events the Church isn’t evil. END PLOT.

Jeez, where to begin?

History was never my strong suit but even I know that the Crusades and the Black Plague did not take place in conjunction with one another but as I am not a Historian I don’t particularly care. I appreciate that the Black Plague wasn’t the most pleasant of times to be living in but it is the one natural disaster that I cannot take seriously thanks to Monty Python as every time I see the death, destruction and misery which that fateful disease spend amongst the people all I can hear is Eric Idle repeating “Bring out your dead” over and over and over again.

As hard as it is to believe the plot did have potential as did the premise of the movie but it just couldn’t figure out what direction it should be taking. It was heavily implied that the Church was evil and the witch was innocent then it flipped around showing the witches powers by killing two relatively innocent members of the group. It then transpired that the witch was a demon pretending to be a witch who has caused the Black Plague in order to be taken to The Mountain Where The Monks Live to destroy the only copy of the Book of Solomon which in turn is the only book that can destroy the demon.

The only person who was more bemused at this turn of events than my good self was poor old Nicolas Cage.

The movie looked dark and dirty which I suppose was in keeping with the time period but the special effects were only so-so. The Black Plague victims looked over plagued and the CGI werewolves were embarrassingly fake as was the winged demon who reminded me of the djinn from The Wishmaster series without any clothes on.

Nicolas Cage has built a career on being god awful in absolutely everything so when that rare performance comes along once a decade where he isn’t soul destroyingly bad the masses are crying out to give the man an award. In Season of the Witch Cage looks even more drained and tired than usual and this enhances the abundance of flaws in his performance. I am not even going to go into detail about his wig of choice for this movie as it speaks for itself:

Ron Perlman shows up as Felson the unlikely best pal. I enjoy watching the Sons of Anarchy (despite their bastardisation of the Irish accent) and accept that if Guillermo del Torro likes you enough to work with you four times then you must be doing something right but believing that he could stomach being the pal of Nicolas Cage was pushing my ability to suspend belief.

Aside from a little cameo from Christopher Lee, in what I suppose was an attempt to give the movie some class, the cast were unmemorable.

My major gripe of the movie was the Book of Solomon. What was the point of having this magical book but just keeping it up The Mountain Where The Monks Live and more to the point when Solomon was writing the damn thing why did his magical spell for dispelling a demon run to three pages? Time is surely of the essence when fighting an all powerful demon so a short and snappy limerick or even a haiku would be much more appropriate.

I tried to find the unintentional humour in the Season of the Witch but it was nowhere to be found. It is just another bad Nicolas Cage movie.

Season of the Witch gets a 4/10 and The Nerdy Trio’s never ending hunt for our next Pathfinder trundles on.


  1. I think you maybe a masochist, in better news you have Nic Cage's Drive Angry to look forward to!

  2. I am one of the rare people who thinks it's hilarious when the glass is half empty