SEASON OF THE WITCH Movie Review
The Middle Ages, that glorious time of knights on horseback, lovely women in perfectly clean dresses pacing through beautifully appointed castles while very gentile wars raged outside the city walls. No, wait. That was the Middle Ages of the 1950s. The Middle Ages of today are grimy, bloody, definitely filthy and full of bad acting and even worse script writing.
I’m speaking, of course, of the latest Nicolas Cage outing SEASON OF THE WITCH.
Nicolas Cage is getting a little odd in his middle years. You can never be sure what to expect from a film. Some are awesome, some are good, some are “oh, dear, why am I here” bad. I hate to say it, but Season of the Witch might just fall in that last category.
The film follows two knights (Cage and Ron Perlman), deserters from the Crusades, who are given a choice to either escort a young woman accused of witchcraft (Claire Foy) to a distant monastery or face the death penalty. Being strong, brave and noble deserters, they opt for escort detail and set off on a most excellent adventure through plague-ridden, wolf-infested Europe. They have a merry little band, complete with the True Believer, the Starry-Eyed Youngster and the Comic Relief, all essential elements in the medieval movie cast.
So, there you go, it has everything to make it a good medieval romp. Knights, witches, hungry wolves, religious dogma, a good plague to ravage the countryside. Sad to say, it just doesn’t do anything with all that potential. In fact the movie hovers on the edge of an unintentional comedy now. The writers just couldn’t make up their mind with the dialog, leaving our two brave knights to utter lines like “We’re gonna need more holy water.”
No, really, they said that. Seriously.
I would say we should just let the inaccuracies go and take the leap and enjoy this film, but you just can’t. It is so fabulously bad you can’t forgive them. It if had been better, I’d say, so what if the Crusades and the Black Death were separated by a few dozens years (maybe even a few more than that)? And I would say, yeah, that whole witch burning thing was a little later than this film is set, just a little, we can forgive them a few years… I would have said that, if the film had been any good at all. But it wasn’t.
I patiently waited for it to get better, or to become an out and out comedy. I was wondering when Sir Robin would make an appearance or the “Knights Who Say Ni” would pop up and demand a shrubbery. Although, frankly, I am not even sure a killer bunny could have saved this horrific mishmash. Once or twice I caught Perlman looking wistfully at the camera as if he were asking “why, why am I here?”
I agree. Why, oh why was I there at Season of the Witch? Why didn’t I run for the hills to flee the plague? Why didn’t I beg to be burned at the stake to end my suffering? Why did I stay all the way until the credits rolled?
It’s too late for me, but save yourselves. Grab more holy water, splash it on the marquee and run for your lives.