Season of the Witch

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Rating: PG-13

Starring:
Nicolas Cage as Behmen
Ron Perlman as Felson
Stephen Campbell Moore as Debelzaq
Stephen Graham as Hagamar
Ulrich Thomsen as Eckhart
Claire Foy as The Girl
Robert Sheehan as Kay
Christopher Lee as Cardinal D’Ambroise
Kevin Rees as Dying Monk
Andrew Hefler as Jail Bailiff
Fernanda Dorogi as Old Woman (Givaudon)
Rebekah Kennedy as Peasant Turk Girl
Matt Devere as Sergeant in Arms
Róbert Bánlaki as Livery Boy
Barna Illyés as Cardinal’s Priest

Directed by Dominic Sena

Special Features:
Deleted Scenes
Becoming the Demon
On A Crusade
Alternate Ending

Other Info:
Widescreen (1.78:1)
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
French and Spanish Languages
French and Spanish Subtitles
Running Time: 95 Minutes

The Details:
The following is the official description of the film:

“Oscar winner Nicolas Cage (‘National Treasure,’ ‘Ghost Rider’) and Ron Perlman (‘Hellboy,’ ‘Hellboy II’) star in this supernatural action adventure about a heroic Crusader and his fellow soldier who must transport a woman accused of being a witch to a remote monastery. The arduous journey across perilous terrain tests their strength and courage as they discover the girl’s secret and find themselves battling a terrifyingly powerful force that will determine the fate of the world.”

“Season of the Witch” is PG-13 for thematic elements, violence and disturbing content.

Mini-Review:
“Season of the Witch” has an interesting setting. You don’t see too many movies set in the era of the Crusades and dealing with the ever-popular subject of witchcraft. That setting and theme alone make this story unique. Thanks to this you get intriguing visuals of knights fighting monsters, witches among castles, and other cool stuff.

The movie also has an interesting story. You see Claire Foy as The Girl and there’s a bit of a mystery as to whether she’s a witch. You see a lot of mind games as the story unfolds. And just when you think that question is answered, you’re thrown another plot twist. I won’t spoil the twist here, but it quickly changes the genre that this movie is in.

The problem most people will have with “Season of the Witch” is buying Nicolas Cage as a Crusader. For some reason knights with British accents (whether they were from Britain or not) are more believable than knights with American accents. If you can’t get past Cage as a knight, then don’t bother watching “Season of the Witch.” If it doesn’t bother you, then you have a better chance of enjoying it. While most of the rest of the cast is forgettable, Ron Perlman is well paired with Cage as Felson. He’s one of the high points of the film as he provides both muscle and comic relief.

While “Season of the Witch” has a lot going for it in theory (even stunts by the legendary Vic Armstrong), the final product is a bit mediocre. The story moves along at a rather slow pace and when the characters get to a rickety bridge, the story is at its weakest. Any time a movie features the lead characters trying to get across a bridge, it seems like a weak way to burn up running time. After all, the characters more often than not actually make it across. It’s anti-climactic.

If you’re looking for a light supernatural thriller, “Season of the Witch” should fit the bill. I’d get it more for the horror aspect than the fact that Nicolas Cage stars in it. Just don’t expect fine cinema.

There’s a modest selection of bonus features on the DVD. You get some deleted scenes, a featurette highlighting the Crusades scenes, and a featurette on the CG monster at the end of the film. There’s also an alternate ending where we see Claire Foy rather than the CG monster at the end of the movie. I think this is a case where the theatrical version was better.

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