Witch hunt

There is a fair mix of form and content in Dominic Sena’s Season of the Witch

HORROR films, these days, range from the super scary to the unintentionally funny. Of course, my first encounter with the witch was decades ago in The Wizard of Oz and still remember the climax. Since then, they have been coming out of the cupboard at irregular intervals. In Season of the Witch is a film which is not exactly riveting but manages to hold the viewers’ attention up to the end and that is saying quite a lot these days.

Two hardened deserters from the Crusades, Nicholas Cage and Ron Perlman, are having qualms of conscience and feel their entire life’s mission is in vain. They are disenchanted with religion but when Cardinal D’Ambroise (Christoper Lee, the most famous Dracula) asks them, along with four others to transport a "witch" (Claire Foy) to an Abbey to be tried for heresy, they just cannot refuse him.

The metamorphosis of Claire Foy, the witch, in Season of the Witch is credible
The metamorphosis of Claire Foy, the witch, in Season of the Witch is credible

So it’s a long and arduous and perilous journey but good outdoor locales in the mountainous region are soothing to the eye. Also, the metamorphosis of the witch is credible. So are the characters, who are shades of grey, especially the young volunteer (Stephen Campbell).

Director Dominic Sena does well to introduce the subject and the establishing shots are competent. There is also a fair mix of form and content and he, more or less, maintains the viewer’s interest in the proceedings. The climax, too, is ably put across and though one cannot use superlatives to describe the film, it surely is a good entertainer. Acting-wise, there’s not much to speak of as Nicholas Cage is far from enthusiastic in the lead role whereas Ron Perlman is far more keen. Veteran Christopher Lee is scarcely recognisable behind all that "plague shrubbery."

Young Stephen Campbell is and cute Claire Foy does justice to a more complicated part. Worth seeing, anyway.