A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this Nicolas Cage adventure/fantasy -- which has both horror and action elements -- has plenty of fighting and violence, including violence toward women, some scary stuff, and horrific images of Black Plague victims. There's also a little language (including one use of "s--t") and minor nudity and drinking. Although overall it's not a particularly good movie, it does have some interesting, even educational facets -- including details about the Black Plague and the witch trials of the 14th century. (It's worth noting that this film has nothing to do with George A. Romero's 1973 movie Season of the Witch.)
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Shocked by what they're asked to do during the Crusades, knights Behmen (Nicolas Cage) and Felson (Ron Perlman) decide to quit. Branded as deserters and outcasts, they're captured and offered one chance for redemption: They must transport an accused witch (Claire Foy) through perilous terrain to a remote abbey so that she can be properly tried by monks. They're accompanied by a ragtag group that includes a wannabe knight (Robert Sheehan), a suspicious priest (Stephen Campbell Moore), and a swindler (Stephen Graham) who knows the way. Unfortunately, nothing is quite as it seems, and this band of heroes may have more on their hands than just a simple witch.
Is it any good?
Directed by Dominic Sena, SEASON OF THE WITCH suffers from a general laziness. The action scenes are predictably shaky and awkward, the horror scenes are full of the usual CGI effects, and the period detail is often compromised for modern thrills (i.e. the characters head-butt each other during sword fights). Most of the actors simply look uncomfortable, suffering in their period costumes and period dialogue -- all except Perlman, who almost always looks like he's having a good time.
The long setup is dull, but the road trip itself actually has some strong sequences, notably the crossing of a creaky, rotting old bridge. But Sena and screenwriter Bragi F. Schut try to end their tale with a big surprise, and their logic falls flat. On the upside, there are some interesting details on the Black Plague and witch trials of the 14th century, so it's not a total loss.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the movie's violence. How did it affect you? How does it compare to other violent movies you've seen?
The main character quits the Crusades because he comes to believe that killing in the name of God is wrong, but in doing so he becomes an outcast. Is he a hero or an anti-hero?
Do you think the movie offers an accurate portrayal of witch trials in the 14th century? What about the Black Plague? How could you find out more about both?
Is the movie scary? What makes it so?
- In theaters: January 7, 2011
- On DVD or streaming: June 28, 2011
- Cast: Nicolas Cage, Ron Perlman, Stephen Campbell Moore
- Director: Dominic Sena
- Studio: Rogue Pictures
- Genre: Fantasy
- Run time: 113 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: thematic elements, violence and disturbing content
- Last updated: September 21, 2019
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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