A noble attempt at a “period” horror film, Black Death follows the journey of a ragtag group of ex-Crusaders (led by the ever-grizzled Sean Bean) and their disillusioned monk guide (Eddie Redmayne) as they travel to a village that has mysteriously been untouched by the Bubonic Plague that’s been ravaging the English countryside — a village that has also been rumored to harbor someone who can bring the dead back to life. Expecting the Devil’s work is afoot, they attempt to bring the Necromancer to justice — and end up facing something much more terrifying. Everyone gets an A for Effort on this one, with director Christopher Smith doing an admirable job in getting the best bang for his buck on such an obviously limited budget — ultimately, though, you’re left wondering what we’re supposed to take from this tale of Christianity vs. Paganism, over 700 years after it takes place, other than that it would really suck to be torn apart by horses. Carice van Houten is creepy and gorgeous as the village’s matriarch who isn’t beyond rolling her eyes when her guests insist they say grace before dinner.
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