#8 Season of the Witch

#8 Season of the Witch

Year: 2011
Director: Dominic Sena
MPAA Rating:  PG-13 
Epic Co-stars: Ron Perlman
Running Time: 95mins
Cage Time: ~95%
Cage Kills: 16 (allegedly 600 plus countless women, children, and wolves)
Cage Flip-outs: 1
Shauna's Review: Season of the Witch may not have been based on a video game, but it definitely could have been... or vice versa. Knights Behmen (Nic Cage) and Felson (Ron Perlman) cheerfully hack their way through a half-dozen 14th century Crusades until the fateful day the mists clear and they realize they've killed (attractive) women and children. Goddammit! After a pissy screaming match with their leader priest dude, they desert the army, principles intact. 

These principles weigh heavily upon my head, like... overly long hair and half a British accent.
A month later, they find themselves in the city of Marburg where a mysterious black plague (hmm) has taken hold. The woman deemed responsible has been labeled a bitch; I'm sorry, a witch, and needs to be taken to the monks for trial. As deserters, the soldiers face an indeterminate but ostensibly awful punishment; Cardinal Saruman offers them clemency for escorting the prisoner on this inevitably perilous journey. Nic Cage refuses (he has his principles, after all), but changes his mind when he sees how hot the witch is. Aww, she looks so innocent! Perhaps he can save her, thus redeeming himself after slaughtering all those women and children! The rest of the movie depicts their harrowing journey, as the men face evil, both physical and psychological, in their attempt to bring her to the monastery. 

In my next role, can I please play a wizard again? I'll even settle for Count Dooku.
Of course, in the first scene of the movie, we established that witches/magic/evil are totally real and definitely horrifying, so we won't spend too long wondering whether or not she's actually a witch. Plus, you know, she always has her stringy, dark hair hanging in front of her eyes and generally looks like the chick from The Grudge. Very subtle. 

I'm totally innocent... I don't know why you don't believe me.
Season of the Witch did not do very well in theaters; I remember seeing the previews and thinking it looked terrible. But it surprised me. It was both more creepy and more suspenseful than I had anticipated. The overall trajectory was predictable, but there were a number of surprising and interesting moments throughout. The film wasn't particularly strong in terms of Cage-y-ness. The dialogue is terse and largely unpretentious; the witty banter is mostly given to Perlman, and some of it is actually funny. As a result, this is Cage's straightest and most subdued performance so far... with surprisingly good result. This isn't the movie to watch if you're looking for Nouveau Shamanic mega-acting, but it is a solid adventure/suspense flick. 

Movie quotability: 1/5
  • (Whacks girl on head) "Now she's sedated."
  • "I've saved your ass a hundred times, have a little faith."
  • "Did you see that priest's face? Looked like someone pissed in his holy water."
Plot Holes:
  • The plague has something to do with demons.
  • SPOILER: When waking up after having demons excised from your body, you just lie on the ground with your boobs pressed firmly against the floor. Boo! 
!Stayed in the cage!


Egan "J.T." Dunne said...

I actually really don't think this is a terrible movie.

There are some silly as hell special effects, but in a "C" movie kind of way its the best thing ever. Its like something you'd run in a D&D campaign when you're 14.

Love it.

Steve M said...

This movie is so exciting that the first time I watched it I quickly lost interest and soon was enjoying my laptop in the Cage. This time around I forced myself to stay focused and enjoy the 14th century setting where women that didn't do as they were told were witches and the Church ruled the land. It's basically the same corrupt system we have today, except we call them "Senator" instead of "Priest" or what have you.

I remembered the bridge crossing scene and the end where they fight the demon, but it was still a surprise to see that the girl was a demon instead of a witch so I guess I was really enjoying my laptop the first time around.

Cage did an ok job in his role, but I felt like Ron Perlman really carried the whole movie and was a far better knight than Cage. Overall the movie was decent, but I just don't go for the notion that there is a powerful God just waiting to banish demons and witches, but He needs you to first recite a lengthy incantation in Latin before he can act. All the demon had to do was kill the dude reading the book in a burst of flames like he did to poor Ron, but allows itself to get distracted till its too late. My final nit pick will be the artificial movement of horseback riders when the camera was close up for dialog. It's pretty sad that in 2011 we now lack the ability to film actors actually on horseback or at least fake it in a convincing manner.

KaBluie said...

#51 Season Of The Witch (2011) HBO On Demand, First Time View. Normally I avoid movies with a medieval setting and/or Ron Perlman, but Ron wasn't as annoying as he usually is in this and I enjoyed it.

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