Season of the Witch (PG-13) ½

Review Date: January 7th, 2011

When a movie gets knocked around from one crummy release date to another, one would assume that it is pretty awful. However even I, a knowledgeable and open-minded film geek, wasn't prepared for the monstrosity that is Season of the Witch, a medieval mess that has reportedly been in the works for a decade. You'd never be able to tell so many years of preparation went into this sad excuse for a B-movie, based on its laughable CGI, dialogue and contrived premise. How many flavors of bad is this supernatural stinker? Sample this…

A period horror action flick, Season of the Witch is initially set in a cursed city suffering from the Black Plague that has deformed and decimated the majority of its population. The disease has been unleashed as a result of a literal witch-hunt gone wrong. Ancient, evil forces are afoot and the blame is put on a young girl who the Church believes is a witch. Though imprisoned in the dungeons of a castle, her power reigns supreme. Enter Behman (Nicolas Cage) and Felson (Ron Perlman), Knights of the Crusades who happen upon the city on their way back to civilization. Once recognized as deserters, they are imprisoned and given the choice to remain captive or lead a suicide transport mission to a remote monastery where the girl's innocence or guilt can be determined. If deemed evil, she is to be destroyed.

The premise, though far from original, could have been cool if executed with some style, but director Dominic Sena (Gone In Sixty Seconds) is incapable of making it enjoyable. Instead of creating suspense through eerie environments, he settles for cheap thrills that fall short every time. His use of CGI is painfully bad, conjuring effects that would've looked dated around the turn of the century. Most insulting is the film's big "twist" - a lazy paradigm shift so easily foreseeable the movie should have just been called The Devil's Advocate. Is that not bad enough for you? Just wait, it gets better (read: worse).

Stars Cage and Perlman are Razzie bound with a pair of pathetic non-performances. The accomplished actors don't even try to get into character. Rather, they don period garb, shield and sword, and run around like cheap imitations of their former selves for two hours. You won't hear any attempts at English accents because, apparently, 14th Century Knights are just like contemporary buddy cops. With this little effort being put forth by the two men who are essentially the reason folks will pay to see the movie, Season of the Witch doesn't have much of a leg to stand on. The supporting cast, which includes Ulrich Thomsen, Stephen Graham and Christopher Lee, try to bear the burden but cannot undo the damage that Cage and Perlman inflict upon this film. The scariest thing about Season of the Witch is the movie itself, an abomination of bad filmmaking and terrible acting. rated this film 1/2 star.