It only takes a few minutes into Season of the Witch to figure out why a studio would greenlight this film. I imagine it’s not every day that a project this ambitious comes across your desk in Hollywood, and when it does you have to jump at the opportunity to put together a production this talented.
Witch opens with two battle weary 14th century knights, Behmen (Nicolas Cage) and Felson (Ron Perlman), deserting the Crusades and finding shelter in an isolated village. The village and countryside has been ravaged by the Black Plague, and the knights find themselves being asked to escort an accused witch (Claire Foy) to a far off monastery that may hold the answer to stopping the plague.
Although it is clear that this isn’t a film with the budget of a massive summer blockbuster, director Dominic Sena does a masterful job of making every dollar count. The makeup work in this movie at certain points borders on George Romero’s Dead films, and the action scenes are staged perfectly throughout.
That isn’t to say that the film doesn’t have it’s flaws. You can definitely tell that there were days that Cage wasn’t “feeling” it on set, as some scenes he seems to be going through the motions. Also, at this point we all know Cage is bald, so can we stop with the bad wigs in every movie? It’s gotten past ridiculous. There are also some script problems that I can’t really get into without spoiling a major part of the movie, but let’s just say that at no point did the writers really give a reason for the witch to lose in the battle of wills. All powerful beats scrappiness every day of the week in real life.
All that aside, this is movie is definitely worth your time if you are looking for a guilty pleasure this weekend. This isn’t the Cage of Leaving Las Vegas. Hell, this isn’t even the Cage of Con Air, but after the failure that was The Sorcerer’s Apprentice this feels like redemption.