User Score
5.1

Mixed or average reviews- based on 116 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 46 out of 116
  2. Negative: 30 out of 116

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  1. Jan 13, 2011
    4
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Tituba's "Barbados songs" are best left to the imagination, but in Nicholas Hytner's adaptation of Arthur Miller's 1953 play "The Crucible", we see the black woman conjuring spells over a cauldron; we also see her disciples, languishing New England schoolgirls, who have gathered in the woods by moonlight for this secret assemblage with the expressed interest of quelling their unrequited passions, once and for all. Into the pot does each girl make her contribution to the love potion, mostly harmless fauna and flora, except for Abigail Williams(Winona Ryder), who brings a live chicken to the estrogen-heightened proceedings. Abigail smashes the bird on a rock, then smears the fowl's blood on her lips. In "Season of the Witch", a principled knight who leaves the Crusades(along with his pal Felson, played by Ron Perlman) after ruminating over the morality of killing innocent women and children(it finally hits him: hey, it's wrong!), dreams about his last victim(a woman that he speared in the chest), and in this delirious reenactment, she feasts on the blood gathered around her mouth, just like Abigail. Did the conscientious objector conjure this image on his own, or did the girl in the cage(Claire Foy), the alleged witch, put it there? John Proctor(Daniel Day Lewis) didn't believe in necromancy, and neither does Behman, which is how he allows himself to be manipulated by Anna, who convinces the runaway knight that the priest, Deblezar(Stephen Campbell), is the enemy. In this world, fourteenth century England, the church's hysteria, concerning the devil and the threat he poses to the inhabitants of the material realm, is warranted, because unlike the Massachusetts of 1692, magic exists; witches walk among the English people, many of them, victimized by the Black Plague. "Season of the Witch", as a result of having studied "The Crucible", plays topsy-turvy with the two camps: the accused(the women, the supposed witches) and the accusers(the church), when the film defies expectations when one of the sentenced women(in the film's opening scene), a confessor(unlike the Miller play, divulging one's guilt doesn't result in an automatic reprieve), turns into a demon after she is dragged out of the icy cold river water, the surprising aftermath of a public execution. It wasn't a senseless killing, after all. Whereas the prologue in the Hytner film(written by Miller himself) suggests the possibility, however slight, that the devil did reside in Salem, which to a certain degree, justifies the micro-proselytizing of the theocratic officials, the church in this "Lord of the Rings"-meets-"The Exorcist" mash-up is seen as totally in their right to round-up potential occultists for their kangaroo court. The witch hunt, with its allusions to McCarthyism, makes "Season of the Witch" a sort of apologist film for the red scare tactics plied by the U.S. senator on many Hollywood professionals in the nineteen-fifties, since the woman in the opening scene, and Anna, indeed do have something to hide. The church, so often portrayed as a patriarchal construct whose sole purpose is to keep robed men in power, in this otherwise forgettable and routine film, is seen as a heroic institution, vital even, since superstition(the root cause of all that goes wrong in John Proctor's world), in this cinematic domain, becomes almost indistinguishable from empirical observation. The devil isn't a psychological entity, something conjured up in the mind's eye of Abigail Williams, but rather, it's a physiological one, as seen in the monastery, home to the Key of Solomon(a book of incantations that contains a spell to break the plague), when the devil breaks loose from the girl's body. Expand
  2. May 20, 2011
    3
    This movie is horrible, but in a good way. Nicolas Cage is in it. That alone makes it a movie worth watching. The acting is horrible (also NC) and the movie looks rushed. Watch it anyways.
  3. Feb 16, 2011
    4
    Lets get the story straight. I really hate Nicholas Cage. He's let all his fame go to his head and he thinks anything he makes is pure gold when in reality most of it is crap. That being said, I went into this movie with zero expectations. That being said, it wasn't horrible. It kept me entertained. The acting as a whole is decent, nothing special from anyone. The special effects are surprisingly good, the ending fight was very cool to watch. That being said, there are glaring holes in this movie. For instance, some of the acting is just horrible(the supporting characters were just really, really bad. Also, during many parts in this movie, they are just talking, which I'm fine with, but there isn't a point to anything they're saying! If they actually had a point to what they were doing, it would be OK, but they don't. One more thing that was extremely stupid was if what happened was supposed to happen, then this whole journey they take could have been avoided. Overall, Season of the Witch is a movie I probably wont ever see again, but for a one time, popcorn flick its worth a shot I suppose. Expand
  4. Jan 11, 2011
    3
    Okay i have seen plently of either bad or just medicroe movies lately but this has to been one of the worst movies i have seen in the last few months. I mean where do i begin it is poorly paced, badly directed, badly acted (What happend to Nicloas Cage), laughably written, only a few decent action scenes it's just a bad movie and not much fun of all. Nicolas Cage should either stop doing movies or fire is acting because i mean he's amazingly talented like in movies like Leaving Las Vegas, Con Air, The Rock, Adoption and even the National Treasure movies (which i think are actully pretty good chessy but really good). But he has made some really bad movies latley i mean The Sorcerer's Apprentince and Knowing was okay haven't seen Kick-Ass yet but Next, The Wicker Man, Bangkok Dangeours and now this are all terrible. Sorry i just had to put out my hatred for this movie really a waste of money. Expand
  5. Nov 15, 2011
    4
    Such a great plot SotW had, but the choice of cast brought doom upon the film. Nic Cage and Ron Perlman are great but they look and sound out of place as they were in 20th century mode when they should've been in
  6. Jan 29, 2011
    4
    Is Nick Cage still acting? Who's giving him these gigs? Oh well. The film was entertaining enough so long as you have plenty of popcorn and pepsi. The young girl who plays the proposed witch is quite intriguing. But I would not choose this movie over most other films at the theater.
  7. Feb 15, 2011
    4
    What should i say about this, i was excepting this films to be at least as good as The Sorcerer's Apprentice, which it self was not a good film at all, but this goes worse than that. I can not imagine Nic in its new hair cut style :) I went into the movie with hope. The trailer looked promising and I believed that the movie was very well cast, but I realized its not. For a story that should have been treated with a bit more of a linear perspective of Alexander's youth to his death (and everything in between), it hopped around like a suicidal jackrabbit. Changing position without warning and begging for something to quickly put it out of it's misery.
    i worn everyone dont go to see this film, its not worth the money to spent about it. I hope Nic never do another film like this.
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  8. Aug 23, 2011
    4
    This wasn't as bad as I had expected. I didn't expect much, and proceeding with that disposition, I enjoyed the witchcraft, demonic possessions, and flashy special effects. The "witch" was an interesting character and this film does well in confusing the audience sentiment towards her. Cage occasionally sounded like he was trying to pull off some kind of English accent at times, and it was not attractive. However, as always, Cage does try hard in every role he attempts, and I found a bit of enjoyment throughout this film. What was with the never-ending, relentless, unapologetic multi-battle opening sequence all about? I'm glad I watched it at home however. Expand
  9. May 14, 2011
    0
    Its pretty close to impossible to like this film. Of course i respect all reviews but this film was not the best way to start a new year of trips to the movies. It was overly cliched and dull. And the acting was terrible except for Ron Perlman who in my opinion was the only entertainment i got out of this film
  10. Oct 29, 2011
    3
    i really enjoyed the start to this film. and then came the oh so hate-able nic cage, the movie was so dull, cheap looking and it just dissapointed overall
  11. Dec 1, 2011
    2
    They picked a good location I'll give it that but that won't help that much considering how bad this movie really was. I would call it a supernatural thriller that is not that thrilling. It looks cheaply made, you can tell by how Nicolas Cage is speaking, he always seems to be shouting. I'll put it this way; costumes production and design are good. Editing and visual effects are definitely not. The cinematography was crude with the film being dark, dusty and foggy in almost every scene. The dialogue wasn't bad but the fact that it changes from Let's drink to Kill her doesn't really make it well played out. It has a B movie aesthetic to it. The film was pieced together terribly with bad cliche's. They put the genre of the movie in between horror and historical thriller, a mix that doesn't go together really well. They made the movie too long by putting unneeded dialogue and bad special effects that delay the overall story line. Cut out all that and it might just catch somebodies eye without them leaving the movie theatre with a frown on their face. Expand
  12. Jan 2, 2012
    4
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Plot seemed interesting at first, but there is as just as much as historical accuracy in the dialogue during the scenes inside fighting The Crusades as in a bad Titanic flick. The visuals were little above par and the acting (admittedly) wasn't bad. Hell, this could have been a "so bad it's good" pass-over. The only thing that felt forced was the character introductions, and the pacing was moving along so quickly. The part where the new comer alter boy joins the quest, was so cliched. Just fight with blandly arranged choreography and go. Anyway the ending was flat-out horribly cheesy, I don't seem to take the main antagonistic demon to be taken seriously. Overall it wasn't bad, but it could have gotten worse.... Expand
  13. May 1, 2012
    4
    Boring and predictable is all I have to say regarding the story. I was expecting way more out of the cast then this snore. I can't even say anything else, it was just that bad.
  14. Aug 22, 2013
    1
    This film is so dopey and is just boring. What is Nick Cage and Ron Pearlman doing here? They should have fired their agents as soon as they got the script. F
  15. Sep 10, 2013
    4
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Somewhere in medieval Europe, three women are sentenced to death as penalty for witchcraft, then hanged and drowned for their crimes. All our preconceptions about the brutality and futility of the classic witch trial are brought to the forefront, as the youngest begs for mercy.

    The first scene is an introductory vignette of misdirection, as one of the hanged women returns to life and dispatches the sentencing priest. In this universe, the presence of actual witches and demons and the success of biblical incantations in suppressing them lends credence to the church's claims, and makes them somewhat justified in their precautions.

    The story stars Nicolas Cage, who has nothing if not a varied filmography. Here, he appears as Teutonic knight named Behman, who returns from the crusades with his friend and comrade Felson (Ron Perlman) to find his homeland ravaged by the Black Death. The scene is set for the duo though a montage of battles chronicling the decades long Crusade, through desert, snow, day and night, all of which seem to be shot on a soundstage, in contrast to the later Alpine location shoots. The characters become disillusioned with the senseless killing, and decide to abscond and return home.

    It's not particularly good, but it is entertainingly over the top. Behman and Felson are swiftly recruited to escort a young woman, Anna (Claire Foy), who has confessed to witchcraft, to a monastery where she will stand trial, and become the subject of a ritual designed to halt the onslaught of the plague. They assemble a fellowship that pales in comparison to any Lord of the Rings movie, and set off on a road fraught with peril, through the oppressive forests of Styria (now modern day Austria and Slovenia).

    The intention is really to create more of a horror picture than a historical action adventure, as evidenced by the dark colour palette, the central European setting full of Gothic spires and dense forests, and the frequents sights of the afflicted, covered in grim pustules. The genre is further cemented by a cameo from veteran horror star Christopher Lee.

    Director Dominic Sena worked with Cage on Gone in 60 Seconds (2000). He was criticised as being a boring director then, and regrettably does little to shift this label now. Thematically, the two works couldn't be further apart, so his ambition is to be admired. Yet the studio was unimpressed with test screenings, and the film was re-edited before release, with some scenes re-shot with a different director, the uncredited Brett Ratner, of Rush Hour and Prison Break fame.

    It's a shame, because the rest of the production is actually very high quality, with convincing sets, costumes, and fight choreography. The overall darkness of the film, and the atmosphere of deep forests and abandoned villages, effectively gives the entire piece a foreboding overtone.

    The main 'victim' of the piece is Anna, who we are meant to side with as the innocent receiving end of the church's unforgiving stance against witchcraft. After all, her 'confession' was eked out under torture. But flashes of violence and surprising strength belie a darker streak within her. Different members of the group react to her accordingly: the young squire Kay would see her released, whilst unscrupulous guide Hagamar favours killing her swiftly, to end a futile quest. Behman, weary of death and killing, remains ambiguous, focusing on holding the group together.

    Again, misdirection is the intention of the film, and it's hard to know what to make of Anna. She saves one member of the group from certain death, but summons wolves to savage another. On some level, she seems to be passing judgement based on the level of trust each of her captors affords her, which itself is unsettling enough to rob her of her little sympathy and paint Kay as a naïve idealist.

    Half the time, characters debate the virtues of honour or the church, in typical pseudo medieval Hollywood language. The rest of the time they delve into American colloquialisms. Of course, this is an attempt to write the friendship and banter between Cage and Perlman; it's just not very convincing. Or at least it might be in a buddy cop movie, and not an ominous, medieval environment, heavy with religious symbolism. The film takes itself too seriously the rest of the time to justify the style of humour.

    On the other end of the spectrum, Cage gets some of my favourite lines (not necessarily for the right reasons), delivered completely deadpan: “There is no hope here. Only plague.” Say what you will about Cage, but he definitely has entertainment value.

    Really, the film’s indecisiveness is the main problem, as the film makers do not seem to know whether they are making a dark and suspenseful thriller, or a buddy road movie. A film squarely in the middle achieves neither. The script too, lets everybody down. It’s certainly watchable as a B-movie romp, so it is perhaps fitting that I viewed this film in its natural home of late night television.
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Metascore
28

Generally unfavorable reviews - based on 27 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 0 out of 27
  2. Negative: 16 out of 27
  1. Reviewed by: Marc Savlov
    Jan 11, 2011
    11
    Things do not end well, least of all for the audience.
  2. Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    Jan 11, 2011
    38
    Cage appears as a knight of the Crusades, slogging across the continents, slaying infidels and unbelievers and anyone else who gets in his way. There isn't a minute when it looks like he's having fun.
  3. Reviewed by: Mark Jenkins
    Jan 10, 2011
    25
    The movie proceeds in near darkness, perhaps to obscure its shoddy special effects, but the pervasive gloom is less discouraging than star Nicolas Cage's indifferent performance.