There are only two kinds of movies that can’t be strictly defined to one genre. The movies that are so overloaded with ideas that it collapses under it’s own weight, for example the romantic comedy/drama/porn of Love and Other Drugs. Then there are the movies that have a good balance of different genres that are well blended and seamless, and that’s where Season of the Witch falls.
Season of the Witch is an action/horror/historical movie starring Nicholas Cage (Snake Eyes, Sorcerer’s Apprentice) and Ron Perlman (Hellboy).
The duo play knights, Behem (Cage) and Felson (Perlman), during the Crusades, that become disenchanted with the idea of killing innocent women and children for the Catholic church, and become deserters. They are arrested and given the choice between death for desertion or escorting a supposed witch to a special monastery for trial and execution.
The witch, played by Claire Foy, is blamed for having brought a terrifying and deadly plague to the land. The plague seems to be a cross between the bubonic plague and leprosy. Joining the knights on their little quest is a monk sporting the latest Friar Tuck hairdo, a town guard guy with a sad past, and a swindler to act as a guide.
As the plot goes on, mysterious and creepy occurrences happen around the witch. This causes Behem to wonder if the girl might indeed be the witch they claim her to be, and not just another innocent victim to be trodden under by the Catholic church, of which Behem is against.
A real effort was taken to maintain historical accuracy, which adds to the horror. A village that’s usually seen in movies as the charming little place for a princess and her fair prince can become extremely disturbing when it’s filled with plague-filled corpses and a renegade witch. It’s like seeing the Smurfs village full of zombie Smurfs.
Season of the Witch is a true popcorn movie. While there weren’t a lot of scenes that required a Shakespearian level of acting, the acting wasn’t bad. This is not one of Cage’s best work (see Gone in 60 Seconds, and yet it’s also not his worst work (see Raising Arizona.) Season of the Witch is a movie worth seeing to start off the year.
Season of the Witch is rated PG-13 for violence, some pretty gruesome plague victims, and dead bodies.