INTERN’S VIEW: ‘Season Of The Witch’ Is A Vast Empty Void Of Nothingness
Season Of The Witch; Directed By Dominic Sena: Starring Nicolas Cage, Ron Perlman and Claire Foy.
The story of Nicolas Cage’s career is certainly a tragic one; how he managed to go from Academy Award Winner to straight to DVD-quality schlock like this is a sob story for the ages. The turning point for me ultimately came in 2006, from Neil LaBute’s god awful Wicker Man remake. As atrocious as that film was, Nicolas Cage managed to cement himself in bad movie history. Along with John Travolta in Battlefield Earth and Eddie Murphy in Pluto Nash, Cage became one of the biggest laughing stocks in show business. To this day, the mere mention of ‘Not The Bees!’ has me keeling over in laughter. Naturally when Season Of The Witch came out, I was expecting another heavy hitting bad film. Since Cage has proven he’s diametrically opposed to acting in anything worthwhile these days, the least he could do is try and make the horrible films memorable.
Sadly, Season Of The Witch was no such film. Don’t get me wrong, it was still horrid but in the same fashion as the mind-boggling sequel Little Fockers. It’s made up of so much concentrated garbage that it collapses in on itself into a vast empty void of nothingness. Season Of The Witch isn’t a bad film you laugh at or even cringe at. When I sat in the theater I didn’t know how to express why the film was so bad. It has all the elements of a very bad film like third rate CGI, predictable plot twists, horrible quips etc. but none of the emotional resonance that other terrible films have. When you see a movie like Freddy Got Fingered for instance, the only sane response is to curse humanity for unleashing a foul plague like Tom Green, but in Season Of The Witch, you’re more likely to walk out saying ‘I don’t know what I just watched but somehow I feel very uneasy.’
Season Of The Witch follows two knights in The Crusades named Behmen and Felson (Nicolas Cage and Ron Perlman respectively) who desert their ranks after the slaughter of innocents. Some time later, they hitch at a nearby town that’s been stricken with the plague. Ultimately, they are conscripted into bringing a witch suspected of bringing about the plague to a monastery for trial. However, they soon discover that all is not as it seems as malevolent forces beyond their comprehension begin to move against them.
As much as this film was a true representation of the January Dead Zone, I did enjoy two aspects of it. The first being Ron Perlman; no matter what terrible film he finds himself in, I can always enjoy his cromagnum charm. The second being the very beautiful woman they found to play the witch in Claire Foy. Seeing her somehow ratcheted this film up a notch than it wouldn’t have been without her. Everything else on the other hand? Miserable, and when you think about it later you realize that throwing twenty dollars down the toilet would have been both a more productive use of your time and a better way to spend the money. The special effects are like a time capsule from 1999 that the director had no other use for. Then again this is the brilliant auteur that brought us such ‘classics’ as Swordfish and Gone In Sixty Seconds, both films made slightly better by beautiful women. (I sense a pattern…)
The script is essentially scratch and sniff Medieval fare with a twist of the Schwarzenegger vehicle End Of Days. This is a cliche film and it doesn’t care who knows it. Sometimes I don’t mind that if they know how to play that angle to their advantage and make entertaining B-quality fare, but in the hands of Dominic Sena and Nicolas Cage, it just becomes this year’s equivalent to Jonah Hex; short, unpleasant, haphazard and horrible beyond any kind of connection. My advice if you’re in the mood for a B-Movie is to rent something with Bruce Campbell in it. It won’t be the best film you’ve ever seen, but by golly will it be fun. If you’re looking for Season Of The Witch, stick to the Donovan tune and let Nicolas Cage fizzle out. It’s sad, but then again if I sealed my fate as an actor with paganism and misogyny, I’d have no one but myself to blame.
Rating: * / *****
[EDITOR’S NOTE: Philip Benais is our newest Intern, a 16-year old student at Big Picture High School in SeaTac. He’s an aspiring Writer who loves movies, so we let him write reviews for us.
Read more of his work here.]