Season of the Witch

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Season of the Witch Movie Poster Image
Dull fantasy mixes violence, questions of spirituality.
  • PG-13
  • 2011
  • 113 minutes

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 15 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 29 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

The movie has negative things to say about churches -- i.e. that they willfully murder entire armies in the name of God. The hero quits this service to live what is portrayed as a more spiritual life, one in which he can consider God's more forgiving side. He works hard to overcome the sins of his past. He slips from time to time, but his path is overall a good one.

Positive Role Models & Representations
After deciding during the Crusades that killing people may not actually be what God has in mind, Behmen quits and becomes an outsider. But in doing so, he routinely considers the spiritual weight in everything he does. He sometimes slips, but he's always trying to correct the mistakes of his past.
Violence

Heavy fantasy violence, with scary images of demons, witches, zombies, and possessed wolves. Also swordfighting and some blood, with lots of dead bodies. Violence is committed against women, including beating and hanging. The movie takes place during the Black Plague, and there are several horrific victims covered with terrible sores.

Sex

A young woman is seen lying on the floor, naked, but no sensitive body parts are shown. The heroes are briefly seen celebrating in a tavern, with wenches sitting on their laps.

Language

One use of "s--t." Other words include "piss," "bitch" "ass," "damn," and "hell."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

One character carries a flask and drinks from time to time. One quick shot of the two heroes celebrating, drinking in a tavern after a battle.

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.)

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 6 and 8-year-old Written bylerrenobaby December 5, 2011

Not worth it

My husband and I watched this movie last night and turned it off. This movie should have been rated R. A lot of graphic scenes with the black plague & d... Continue reading
Adult Written byDasGinatron November 6, 2011

Okay movie, but for a more mature audience.

This movie is not appropriate for children and when viewing this movie, make sure you know the maturity level of your children. If they are interested in seeing... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byLuke Rambo September 25, 2019

Why would you watch this in the first place

This is on my Letterboxd list of my least favourite films. It's cheesy (and not in the good way), spiritually really dark, and generally a poor movie. I do... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byybco124 June 4, 2016

Season of the Witch

This movie is a great watch, filled with magic, war and fantasy but looks are deceived and then becomes the act of hanging, gore and blood. This truly amazing f... Continue reading

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?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love fantasy and action

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