"Season of the Witch" Movie Review

1/07/2011 Posted by Admin

"Season of the Witch"

Movie Review

Directed by Dominic Sena, Written by Bragi F. Schut, Rated PG-13, 95-minutes.

By our guest blogger, Matt Schimkowitz

Typically a dumping ground for studios, January releases are the worst of the worst, so it is fitting that "Season of the Witch” would be first on the chopping block.

In “Witch,” the cast wanders from one cheap set piece to the next, fighting off poorly rendered cartoon characters, while attempting to make sense of an annoying script.

Set during the Crusades, two knights named Behmen (Nicholas Cage) and Felson (Ron Pearlman) joyously murder thousands of infidels, until Behmen accidentally kills a woman and realizes that murder is bad. Therefore, he and Felson quit the service and move into exile.

They hit the road and arrive at a plague-infested town. There, they are found out as deserters and forced into delivering a suspected witch (Claire Foy -- credited as “The Girl”) to another city for trial.

Neither Sena nor Schut know how to portray this journey appropriately, which results in a mixture of poor writing, bland action sequences and inconsistent performances that hinder the plot and lose the audience.

The directing and script problems are everywhere, usually because the two spell everything out for the viewer. Sena gives an establishing shot of a town and Behmen exudes, "Finally, a town." Likewise, the time in Werewood’s Forest features some expected and poorly computer-generated K9 guests. Meanwhile, the script frequently attempts an Old English vocabulary that it just as quickly abandons, allowing the actors to awkwardly slip in and out of bad accents.

These inconsistencies appear in the characters, as well. Behmen occasionally undergoes a slight change, but any decision he makes, he overturns. He deserts the church, then rejoins. He sympathizes with the witch, then abandons her. Sena puts his stake in blockades for Behmen, giving the audience overlong sequences of him crossing a decayed bridge, yet nothing that would have us invest in the character.

These faults make the world of "Season of the Witch" a chore to be in. Obviously, this isn't supposed to be realistic, but not even Pearlman, an actor who made a name in similar fantasies, can muster the strength to slog through such schlock.

Because this is the first release of 2011, it would too be easy to crown "Season of the Witch" worst film of the year, but I’m sure it will live up to that title for weeks to come.

Grade: F

View WeekinRewind.com's preview of the film below. What were your thoughts of the movie?

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  1. Joel C. said...

    I believe Bragi Schut's screenplay was awarded the Nicholl Fellowship from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences a handful of years back. It really makes you wonder what kind of standards they have, or how the screenplay has been altered.

  2. Anonymous said...

    Another possibility- this was a terrible, inaccurate review.

  3. Matt said...

    I'll give them the benefit of the doubt and say there must have been "work" done since. It felt like it was written by the four separate people not reading each other's contributions.

    I wish I had seen the same movie you did, anonymous.

  4. Anonymous said...

    Season of the Witch = another worthless piece of junk from America that took no effort to make. Not that America makes junk, because America makes great films, but it's safe to say that Hollywood is running out of ideas.