I enjoy a bad movie from time to time as long as they are at least entertainingly bad as opposed to just being horrible acted, directed and ends up being dreadfully boring. I don’t want to beat around the bush and make you believe that SEASON OF THE WITCH is a movie capable of recommending because the truth is- it is a very bad film. There are several reasons to deter people far away from spending their time on this one, but I will say that I did have a little bit of fun watching it- and in the end, even though it is frighteningly bad, all I ever ask for is to have some fun.
Nicolas Cage stars as Behmen as a crusader that kills in the name of God along with his right hand man Felson (Ron Perlman). The two crusaders are tasked to escort a girl (Claire Foy) that is suspected of witchcraft to a monastery. Once there a ceremony will be performed that monks believe will wipe out the Black Plague that is devastating the villages. Behmen is conflicted about his feelings on rather or not the girl is innocent or is in fact a witch while also battling with his conscience over deeds he’s committed from the past.
The biggest resounding disappointment I had throughout the movie was that visually everything looks pretty good. The scenery is pretty great and once the special effects take over they are cartoony for sure, but a lot of fun nonetheless. The disappointing thing is that nearly everything else surrounding the visuals is awkward and just fails on a spectacular level.
Starting with the script- I have a hard time accepting movies set in medieval times, but even I can notice a script where aside from including the Black Plague and the costumes barely anything resembles a period piece. This could just as easily been set present day or in a not so distant future and the script may have made much more sense or at least been a tad bit more interesting.
Most movies can bypass a bad script with some decent performances- well SEASON OF THE WITCH is void on those as well. I love Ron Perlman so I can’t put the blame on his shoulders because he made me laugh more than once. Nicolas Cage on the other hand- I’m not even fully convinced that he was awake during this movie. Cage’s dialogue is quite possibly the most wooden and uninspired line delivery I’ve seen from a well known actor of all time. I wouldn’t be surprised if half the time he hadn’t read the script and each scene he’s reading it from a card off screen for the first time in one take. No one else is all that great either minus maybe Claire Foy as it seems like she’s having the most fun with it, but no one is Cage’s equal in terms of laziness.
Rounding out the shortcomings of this film are the action sequences and the extremely lazy sword fights. The fight choreography mirrors just about everything else with this movie- boring and stiff which at the very least is the worst thing you say about a bad porn movie but at least you can still get some pleasure out of that. Even during the CGI heavy finale the stuff that could be cool happens off frame as we get close-ups of Cage and Perlman swiping swords and the moneyshot is happening just off-screen.
When I opened the review I mentioned how I did have a little bit of fun- the only redeeming thing for me was Perlman hamming it up, the visual aspect and the morbid humor I was getting from how bad Cage and the script were. I anticipate that not everyone would be forgiving of nearly everything in this film, and trust me I am not that forgiving about it. I got a small bit of morbid enjoyment from SEASON OF THE WITCH, but that in no way shape or form foreshadows that I would ever watch it again. Director Dominic Sena makes just about every wrong step through a minefield he could possibly make before throwing in the towel and giving up completely. If you can squeeze any juice out of the dry fruit that is the visuals and small performances you might be able to justify watching this on a day when you’ve exhausted every other possible option.