Good, Evil Or Simply Human?

Good, Evil Or Simply Human?

Static Mass Rating: 3/5
Momentum Pictures 

Release date: June 27th 2011
Certificate (UK): 15
Running time: 94 minutes

Directors: Dominic Sena

Cast: Nicolas Cage, Ron Perlman, Stephen Campbell Moore, Claire Foy and Christopher Lee

There’s a lot to be said for the acts against humanity committed in the name of God throughout history. While the Crusaders spread the word of Christianity in the Holy Land, their swords spread the blood of Muslim Turks far and wide in the time between 1095 and 1291, resulting in the deaths of tens of thousands.

Heretics and non-believers met the same fate and among them were anyone who was accused of witchery. During that time right up until the 18th Century it is estimated that over 100,000 executions of people accused of witchcraft took place.

Season Of The Witch

Season Of The Witch is a film which combines the Crusades with one of these witch hunts. Set in the 14th Century as the Black Plague ravages Europe, a teenage girl (Claire Foy) is suspected of being a witch and has to stand – most likely literally – a trial by fire.The villagers believe she is the cause of the plague and she is being sent to a far away monastery where she will face charges and the curse on their village can be lifted.

Behman (Nicolas Cage) and Felson (Ron Perlman) are Teutonic knights tasked with escorting her in return for their charges of desertion to be dropped. Having grown disillusioned with war and no longer believing in its just cause, Behman is not sure if the girl is really a witch or if her trial will be a fair one. The tests of drowning, burning and hanging someone to see if they’re really human seems like an awful, not to mention stupid, way to waste human life and if he can save her, perhaps he can redeem himself in the process for the blood on his own hands.


  • Making Of (9.32)
  • Trailer (2.19)

As they get closer to the monastery Behman himself comes to doubt the girl’s innocence. Faced with hungry wolves along a treacherous path as the plague advances, there seems more to fear than their prisoner.

Season Of The Witch gets off to a rocky start with a lot of exposition that fails to tell us anything we need to know or are able to deduce on our own, but it’s not a bad picture if you’re willing to let go of some cinematic ideals and just enjoy where it takes you. Taking the dialogue aside, its story and action makes for a nice little hell ride but I can’t deny its flaws. They’re there but at the same there’s Nicolas Cage and Ron Perlman, two indications that nothing here should be taken seriously with their cliché camaraderie. The characters themselves lack depth and there’s not much to do with them but go along with it as they talk about visiting their birthplaces once this is all over – a clear sign in any movie that you won’t live that long.

Season Of The Witch

Things get interesting when we meet Debelzaq (Stephen Campbell Moore), a monk who believes in the justice of what they are doing. Moore plays the character with conviction and innocence and it’s something I really enjoyed here, having seen him before in The History Boys (2006) and Amazing Grace (2006) before.

While Season Of The Witch tells us nothing new or surprising about the Crusades or witch trials, or adds anything we haven’t seen before to the supernatural genre, I still found it somewhat bewitching. Maybe it was the wintery landscape or never being really sure if the girl was good, evil or somewhere in between – just human.

Not quite The Crucible (1996) or The Craft (1996) for that matter, but worth a few curses if you’ve got them to spare.

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