Season Of The Witch - DVD Review

'Cage and assorted grunts, priests and cohorts must get from place A to place B. There is a big scary forest in their way. One or more of the group might be untrustworthy. And that's not counting the witch.'

In this episode of Nicholas Cage Needs To Pay His Tax Bill And So Continues To Star In A Wide Variety Of Bizarre Films With Highly Dubious Production Values, young Nicholas finds himself taking on the role of a deserting member of the crusades who, despite intentions to the contrary, enters into the service of the church once again as he promises to take a supposed witch (Claire Foy) from one place to another.

As Cage tax-bill-paying exercises go Season Of The Witch starts off rather well. A schlocky horror opening has ideas of faith and mysticism and exorcism and presumably many other 'isms' which were hidden behind the medieval witch dunking and subsequent priest-bothering reawakening. After Cage and co-star Ron Perlman have dispatched of a few extras (three or so, judging by the extremely poor CGI of the supposedly 'large battle' scenes) a standard journey narrative is set up. Cage and assorted grunts, priests and cohorts must get from place A to place B. There is a big scary forest in their way. One or more of the group might be untrustworthy. And that's not counting the witch.

We've been here before but that doesn't mean there's nothing to see. Cage is decent. Perlman should have gone on to play the gruff charmer on a more regular basis after the Hellboy films (perhaps Hannibal in The A-Team?) and here he adds both the comic relief and the sage old friend versions of support. Director Dominic Sena does a fairly decent job of manipulating your opinion as to whether Foy's character is a witch or not although the fact that 'something' is up is never really in doubt although the final reveal of what exactly 'it' is, is a bit of a cop out.

The problem with the film is that it never really provides enough of anything interesting. The opening five minutes promises horror but there's precious little of that (the 15-rating is hardly deserved). The introduction to Behmen and Felson (Cage and Perlman) promises action but that's largely absent for the rest of the film too. The group dynamic suggests some intrigue but despite the best attempts of Sena to play around with Debelzaq (Stephen Campbell Moore), Hagamar (Stephen Graham) and Eckhart (Ulrich Thomsen) nothing really comes of it. The final twenty minutes quite obviously try to make up for all of these failings but despite the welcome sight of Perlman headbutting a demon it still fails to produce anything really genuinely exciting. The final scenes sum the film up. They're meant to be full of reverent emotion but they're as flat as a medieval map and about as dynamic as a cup full of stale holy water. Inadequate, although there are far worse Cage films available.

Season Of The Witch is released in the UK on Blu-ray and DVD on 27th June 2011.

Look further...

'On the Nicolas Cage crazy scale this is about a 2' - Slacker Cinema, 2/5


  1. I watched this last night. I was hoping that it would be funny, since Nicolas Cage is in it, but it was soooooo boring. And it was almost like it was intentionally boring.

  2. Yeah, there's just not a whole lot there is there? The opening scene made me think it would be much more of a straight up horror film than it was but that was the only time I was ever uneasy during the whole thing. If it had bothered to craft some genuine scares then I could have gone along with it much more than I did.

  3. Cage has had a funny career hasn't he? He started out making some good movies and yet the last 7-8-9 years he seems to have gathered the knack of picking poor scripts. I mean he can act and he has proven it but what is it with his script selection? Has he a career death wish or is he so dis-liked in Hollywood that mediocre movies is all he can get now days?

  4. A lot of people believe it is actually down to his tax issues (which you can read about here - I think he has done some good work fairly recently; KICK-ASS and THE WEATHER MAN were both good, I didn't mind KNOWING as much as most people seemed to. But yeah, the bad far outweigh the good, unfortunately.

  5. Oh I actually forgot about Kick-ass which I did enjoy immensely. Knowing was alright but the ending was bulls*&t and the rest down for me. The problem is the good so often gets hidden among the mediocre if you do it too often.
    I'll check out the link soon.