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Season of the Witch


Stars: Nicolas Cage, Ron Perlman, Claire Foy, Stephen Graham, Stephen Campbell Moore, Ulrich Thomsen. Robert Sheehan, Christopher Lee

Director: Dominic Sena

Think Hammer horror meets medieval mayhem and you have the measure of this demonic action fantasy set in the 14th century. Disillusioned with holy crusades after 12 years of fighting across Europe, knights Cage and Perlman desert the bloodstained cause, and soon find themselves in a village where the plague that has decimated the countryside is blamed on a young 'witch' (Upstairs, Downstairs's Foy), who certainly seems to have superhuman strength and certain demonic powers.

Cage and Perlman buy their freedom from captivity there by agreeing to escort the girl to a distant abbey where she will be tried by the monks. They're assisted on the journey by a knight (Thomsen) whose wife and daughter have succumbed to the plague, a priest (Campbell Moore), a swindler (Graham) reprieved from the stocks as a guide, and a young warrior (Sheehan) out to prove his worth as a knight.

The girl plays the men off each other and escapes once before they recapture her at the loss of one of their party.

The rest of the film takes the form of a trek through perilous countryside, including an attack by rather obviously animated wolves. The film, however, remains good value for money for fans of the genre, and ends in the abbey, where there's a more conventional, if well-managed horror finale. Cage and Perlman manfully wield their swords against the Devil and all his works, while Foy is an interesting new film face as the girl.

David Quinlan

USA 2010. UK Distributor: Momentum. Technicolor.
89 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 03 Jan 2011