Season of the Witch (We’re Going to Need More Holy Water!)

OK… this is like the second movie I’ve seen this month that centres around witches, monks, knights and the bubonic plague in medieval Europe.

The plot of Season of the Witch is very straightforward… Two crusaders have to transport a girl suspected of being a witch to a remote monastery to stand trial for bringing the plague and death to villagers.

Nicholas Cage is the lead knight and is appropriately jaded and conflicted after battling in the Crusades. He and his comrade, appalled by the senseless killing of women and children, desert and return to Europe.

Unlike the film Black Death, however, which is relentlessly dark and bleak,  Season of the Witch  does have moments of humour. These are often provided by the wonderful Ron Perlman (Hellboy, and Hellboy 2: The Golden Army), the other deserting Crusader.

One of  the bits that actually caused me to laugh out loud was the monk Debelzaq’s (Stephen Campbell Moore) classic line, “We’re going to need more holy water!” This, to my mind, ranks right up there with the famous Roy Scheider line in the movie Jaws, “You’re going to need a bigger boat” and the Taco Bell chihuahua’s “Uh oh… I think I need a bigger box!” [1]

While grim and generally dirty, the medieval world portrayed in Season of the Witch is a little more along the lines of the usual Hollywood image of what things were like in the mid-1300’s. And no, it’s not a ‘great movie’ but, like Black Death (and even Sucker Punch), I don’t think it is nearly as dreadful as the critics make it out to be. I liked it. It was an enjoyable swords and witchcraft thriller. Even though parts of it may have been a bit silly and the climactic scenes at the end were a bit far-fetched, it IS a fantasy movie, folks, not a documentary.

I think it is definitely worth a look. The special effects are cool. The action is exciting. The battle scenes are great. Ron Perlman is a howl. And Claire Foy as the ‘Is She? Isn’t She?’ witch keeps you guessing until the end. And you even get Christopher Lee as a plague-ridden cardinal with a rotting face. What more could you ask for?

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[1] The whole “Gonna Need More” schtick is a modern culture phenomenon. For more, check out the listing at TVtropes.org.

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