Director: Dominic Sena
Cast: Nicolas Cage, Ron Pearlman, Claire Foy, Stephan Campbell Moore, Robert Sheehan, Stephan Graham & Christopher Lee.
By Jack Mays
Recently, Nicolas Cage has become something of a phenomenon. Any other actor’s career would be in tatters after starring in so many bad movies. Yet Cage’s star, if anything, has only risen. ‘Season of the Witch’, however, represents a new low for Cage.
Displaying not one iota of originality, and featuring some of the most ham-fisted dialogue you’re ever likely to hear, ‘Season of the Witch’ fails even when compared to the low benchmark set by recent big-budget Cage vehicles. It’s not only stupid beyond belief; it’s also mind-numbingly boring!
Cage is one-note as usual—only this time going for “overtly solemn” rather than “insanely bonkers”—playing Behman, a 14th Century knight with blonde highlights that wouldn’t become fashionable for another six centuries. After playing a part in the massacre of some poor village, Behman and his comrade-in-arms, Felson (Ron Perlman), desert the Order, only to later be captured. Meanwhile, Europe is being ravaged by a pestilence the Church believes is being caused by a young girl (Claire Foy) suspected of being a witch. So when the Church needs someone to escort the girl to a remote abbey, where it is believed the monks can rid the girl of the curse—and rid the land of the plague—guess who they turn to?
A plot “twist” arrives just after the hour mark, but I couldn’t have cared less—by then I was already sneaking a look at my watch. Most of the film is spent following Behman and his ragtag gang (among them a bold squire played by Ireland’s very own Robert Sheehan of ‘Misfits’ fame) as they bicker their way across dreary countryside, occasionally encountering some kind of obstacle such as a rickety bridge (never a good idea!) along the way. Oh, and every now and then someone meets their grisly end, although the characters are so poorly drawn it’s hardly worth mentioning.
On arriving at the abbey, however, the shit really hits the fan, as the film descends into an utterly ludicrous finale featuring plenty of sword waving, silly incantation and yet more dodgy CGI (including a daemon straight off the set of ‘Jeepers Creepers’). I suspect the effects would look even less impressive if the film was better lit, so I suppose I should be thankful that the whole film seems to be cast in permanent shadow, as if the producers put the film through some kind of greyscale filter.
‘Season of the Witch’ has been eagerly anticipated by some, who just can’t wait to see a hammy Cage once again chew the scenery in a movie so OTT, so unashamedly trashy, that it’s “so bad it’s good”. The good news: it’s really bad. The bad news: it’s really bad.
The Trailer for Season of the Witch