Rated PG-13 for thematic elements, violence and disturbing content.
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Ron Perlman, Claire Foy, Stephen Campbell Moore
Written by: Bragi Schut
Directed by: Dominic Sena
If this had been Saturday night and I watch watching the SyFy Channel instead of banging tons of hot chicks like I usually do (just go with it), Season of the Witch would have been a perfectly fine movie to have on the background to watch in between sensual thrusts. But that is not the case; although it looks low-rent and feels like one giant LARP (look it up), Season of the Witch is a movie in theaters. One you have to pay for. And even though I will cop to being somewhat entertained, I can’t recommend anyone use their hard earned dollars here; to pay 10 bucks (or more) would be a waste.
Nicolas Cage puts in another lackluster performance as Behmen, a 14th century Crusader who, along with best friend Felson (Ron Perlman) decide to desert the mission and return to their homes (or just hide, or something). A month into their journey, they end up at a dumb sounding town where the Plague has stricken. They are thrown into jail for deserting the holy war, but then they are offered a way out: help transport a supposed witch (Claire Foy) to a monastery far from their land and have the monks there take the demons out of her and hopefully get rid of the sickness that is slowly killing everyone. Although she is supposedly evil, Behmen sees the good in her and uses this as an opportunity to make up for killing a woman during one of his Crusade sieges. Unfortunately, their trip is wrought with evil CGI wolves, lots of fog, a rickety bridge, death, and more than a witch on their hands.
I hate bringing up the low budget aspects of most movies, but with period pieces I feel justified. If you’re going to convincingly portray a different time period, you need to have the money to make it look somewhat realistic. Season of the Witch just looks straight up fake. While watching it, I was reminded of a documentary called Monster Camp, which was about an event in which LARP enthusiasts hung out for a weekend and play fought each other. That’s what this feels like, and for something that’s supposed to take place in the 14th century (and to be an actual theatrical release for that matter), that is not something anyone can let slide. Even fantasy junkies. As for the unrealistic parts, the demons and such, those look fake as well. The CGI is poor, especially when it comes to the wolves and the eventual true villain. I know I’ve said fake a lot, but that’s what my brain yelled the entire time and that’s not a good thing according to my shrink.
The script is rife with stupid lines and poor attempts at comedy. Cage, as I said earlier, phones it in, most likely thinking about just how much more he owes the I.R.S. for that dinosaur skull he bought. The rest of the cast has no real personality, and the material is so bad that it’s hard for any of them to save face. The one that comes close is Perlman, who manages to overcome the stupidity and makes Felson into a character worth rooting for. But Perlman can’t keep the thing from sinking, and sink it does.
And then we have the rickety bridge. A staple in most movies; a group of people need to cross a chasm and the bridge looks like it’s going to cave in. Eventually it does, but our heroes make across in the nick of time. The same happens in Season of the Witch, but it takes fucking FOREVER. They spend way too long crossing the bridge when it could have taken much shorter. I don’t usually like to pinpoint scenes, but this one got on my nerves and made my already sour experience even worse.
If you’ve seen the trailers for Season of the Witch, odds are you already knew it was going to be a hunk of junk but for those of you still trying to decide, don’t do it. Seriously. Just watch SyFy instead or wait till it’s ON SyFy. The few saving graces (Perlman, the decent makeup work) don’t outweigh the negatives and while it’s entertaining in a “what a cheeseball flick” sense, it’s not worth sitting in a movie theater for. At all.