Rafer Guzman, McClatchy Newspapers, Published January 07 2011
Cage, Perlman battle evil in ‘Season of the Witch’
“Season of the Witch”
- West Acres 14
- Rated PG-13 for thematic elements, violence and disturbing contents
- 91 minutes
- 2.5 out of 4 stars
Reason meets superstition in “Season of the Witch,” starring Nicolas Cage as a 14th-century knight who encounters a young girl possessed by evil. Or is she?
Yes, she is, which would be a spoiler if it weren’t revealed so early in the movie. But even lacking that suspense, “Season of the Witch” still offers spooky forests, rabid hellhounds, zombie-monks and the sight of Cage emoting through 50 pounds of chain-mail. In other words, not the worst way to spend 91 minutes during a slow movie month.
Cage and Ron Perlman (“Hellboy”) play Behmen and Felson, rough-riding, mead-quaffing crusaders known for slaughtering infidels and closing down taverns in hot spots like Smyrna and Edremidt. But after taking part in a kind of Middle Ages My Lai massacre, they desert their outfit in search of more peaceable pastures.
Instead they stumble into a village cursed by plague, apparently the work of a nameless young witch (Claire Foy). After some strong-arming from a dying cardinal (Christopher Lee, under layers of latex pustules), the renegade knights agree to transport her to a far-off abbey to stand trial. They’re accompanied by a young priest (Stephen Campbell Moore), a shady guide (Stephen Graham), a grieving father (Ulrich Thomsen) and an altar boy (Robert Sheehan). Not all will survive, but you knew that.
Director Dominic Sena (“Gone in 60 Seconds”) sets a quick pace; the dull moments are brightened by the unexpectedly likable team of Cage and Perlman. As for the ending, it’s ridiculous. Perhaps you can find forgiveness in your heart.