Season Of The Witch

Director: Dominic Sena (2011)
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Ron Perlman, Claire Foy, Stephen Graham
Find it: IMDB, Amazon

Swords n' sorcery, Nicolas Cage style. Two deserter Crusaders return to their homeland, which they find devastated by the Black Plague. Whilst Sean Bean is off looking to Tim McInnerny to solve the problem (see the imaginatively titled Black Death), Nicolas Cage tackles things the only way he knows how: by having bad hair and beating up on medieval women. This time he does so accompanied by the epic Ron Perlman and a grubby Stephen Graham.

Despite being a more serious movie, Season Of The Witch puts one in mind of Tim Burton's Sleepy Hollow. It feels like a throwback to the Hammer movies of old, complete with a welcome cameo from one Christopher Lee. It's a very simplistic man-on-a-mission film, the likes of which seem all too rare these days. The casting of Nic Cage and Ron Perlman as brothers in arms is inspired. The chemistry is understated (some might say almost non-existent) but I love both actors unreservedly. Their pairing works well, and it's always good to see Ron Perlman at the forefront of a movie. Supporting actors such as Stephen Graham and Stephen Campbell Moore do well too, and even young Robert Sheehan (who I hated in Misfits) pulls his weight.

The Knights, a choirboy and a monk travel across Plague infected England, delivering their witch (Foy) to a remote Monastery, where the Monks hope to use her to stop the Plague's spread. I'm not sure how exactly, nor whether 14th Century Christians had the concept of a "fair trial" which Cage preaches, but the whole thing is just a plot device to get these men on their mission. Along the way they encounter such perils as rickety bridges, their conniving witch and dodgy CGI wolves.

Season Of The Witch takes itself more seriously than it should, especially when the predictable endgame resembles a scene cut from Van Helsing. But it's an enjoyable bit of period nonsense, with Messrs Cage and Perlman in fine fettle.


  1. It wasn't that bad, was it? Actually, I even thought it was some kind of a guilty pleasure "So bad it's enjoyable" would describe it perfectly :)

  2. Ahh, I made the same "Sleepy Hollow" link, but of course that film is so much better. Good review. I personally didn't think Cage and Perlman stood out here, but to each their own. Did you watch the alternate ending on the DVD? If so, what did you think?

  3. Alack, the region 2 DVD (at least the version I saw) didn't come with the alternate ending. In the process of hunting it down though.

    I liked the pairing of Cage and Perlman, but I'll agree that neither was on top form. I'm easily pleased though, they could have just stood there for 90 minutes and I still would have been grinning "ZOMG THAT'S HELLBOY AND CAMERON POE STANDING NEXT TO 1 ANOTHER:D:D"

  4. It depends on what you thought of the CGI demon in the final cut of the film, but I found it to be much better.

  5. After some research, I have found the alternate ending and I find myself in agreement; the ending is very much improved without the crappy CGI demon. Good call - and thanks for bringing it to my attention (damn boring Region 2 release)

  6. Thought this was silly fun. Nic Cage totally phoned this in.

  7. Hi Joel-- Thanks for the follow. I have been avoiding this film. For some reason or another, I've developed a deep disdain for Nic Cage, but I'll give this film a chance since you liked it. I've been curious about it.

    Following you now.

  8. I'd definitely recommend it. And thanks for the follow, Ms Mariah!