[[quoteright:300:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/black-death-poster_944.jpg]]

''Black Death'' is a 2010 movie from Christopher Smith (director of ''Film/{{Creep 2004}}'', ''Film/{{Severance}}'' and ''Film/{{Triangle}}''), starring Creator/SeanBean, Eddie Redmayne and Creator/CariceVanHouten.

In 1348 the Bubonic Plague sweeps through England. Frightened, many people blame witches or their own sins. Osmund, a novice in a monastery, volunteers to guide knight Ulric and his men to a village, which the plague has not reached at all and is therefore suspect. What the knights do not know is that Osmund volunteered to have a chance to see his girl.

One of the primary themes of the film is total uncertainty with how one interacts with the world. The whispers in the woods may be demons, it may be highwaymen. The village witch may be in league with Satan, she may just know how to brew poisons. The town may be warded, it may just be isolated. The plague may target the unrighteous first, everyone may be damned together.

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!! ''Black Death'' contains examples of:

* AFatherToHisMen: Wolfstan.
* AffablyEvil: Langiva remains calm and polite, even when presiding over death and torture. Of course, thanks to the GreyAndGreyMorality, she may not be considered straightforwardly "evil" either.
* AnachronismStew: The year is clearly stated to be 1348, which makes several things out of place:
** In 1348, the Black Death had only just begun infiltrating England. The existence of a village untouched by the pestilence would not be as remarkable as it would be one or two years later when the whole country was infested.
** In real life, plague doctors didn't start wearing those masks with a bird beak to hold herbs until the 17th century.
** Mold uses a type of saw-toothed "sword-breaker" dagger that didn't exist until the 17th century.
** One scene takes place in a forest with suspiciously homogeneous, straight-growing trees, a manicured tree line, and stumps that were obviously cut with saws. The reason is that it's filmed in a modern German timber forest.
* ArtisticLicenseHistory: Some pointers borrowed from WebVideo/{{Lindybeige}}:
** Witch-hunts did not become a common phenomenon in Europe until the 15th century. The usual scapegoats during the 14th century black death were the Jews, who were long before suspected of poisoning wells and spreading diseases among Christendom. On the other hand, outright apostates like the villagers would have been killed indeed, regardless of whether they practiced witchcraft or not. It's also very unlikely any person at the time would completely disbelieve in God.
** The abbot says that Osmund is a mere novice, but it's rather implausible that Osmund would still be a novice at his age. Granted, it took four or five years to become a monk, but those given to the church would have become novices when they were perhaps seven.
** Osmund must have the smallest tonsure (shaved crown) and the largest monks' cell in Christendom.
** The tapestries in the abbey look old and faded like they do in museums today, but back then they would have looked brand new.
** A monk would be qualified to hear someone's confession, but not a novice. People also talk about friars and monks as if they're synonymous, when it's as big as the difference between a policeman and a fireman.
** Nobody in the 14th century would refer to a man Osmund's age (the actor was 27 at the time, [[OlderThanTheyLook and could pass for 18 at best]]) as a boy, since the concept of adolescence didn't really exist yet and males were considered to be legal adults after age twelve or so.
* TheAtoner: [[spoiler: Ulric probably, as it is likely that he had been at the battle of Crecy, where their opponents had been slaughtered instead of being given a mercy strike. He does give one to the woman accused of being a witch]].
* TheBlackDeath: [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin Obviously]].
* BurnTheWitch
* BloodFromTheMouth: The symptom indicating that [[spoiler: Griff has been infected]]. {{Subverted}} in that he [[spoiler: doesn't die but is [[MercyKill finished off by his friend]].]]
* CameBackWrong: [[spoiler: Subverted, because Averill was set up to seem this, while she actually wasn't. Maybe. It's hard to tell.]]
* CelibateHero: {{Averted}}. Even though Osmund is a monk, he secretly has a lover.
* ChekhovsGun: The cage.
* ChristianityIsCatholic: [[JustifiedTrope Justified]] in that this is fourteenth century England.
* CrapsackWorld: If the plague doesn't get you the bandits or the witch-burners will. And if the witch hunters from the Church don't get you, [[GrayAndGrayMorality the witches and their heretical followers might]]. You just can't win.
* CreepyChild: The very first thing the gang see in the village.
* CruelAndUnusualDeath: [[spoiler: Ulric's death (torn apart by horses)]] is horrific. Such punishment or its equivalent was historically reserved only for high treason and regicide, mainly because it was considered extremely cruel.
* DaydreamSurprise: When praying, Osmund [[spoiler: sees dead Averill calling his name, then he brought back to reality by Ulrich, who does the same]].
* DespairEventHorizon: [[spoiler: Osmund certainly suffers one of these as a result of his journey]].
* DownerEnding: Good God, yes.
* TheDungAges: During most of the scenes you can practically feel the dirt under your fingernails. You can certainly see it on the characters! Even individuals whose social status or occupation would require that they be well-dressed and groomed look very scruffy and disheveled. A monastery with so little religoius decoration would also be unthinkable.
* TheDragon: Hob is this to Langiva.
* FaceDeathWithDignity: [[spoiler: Ulric and Swire]].
* TheFinalTemptation: {{Played with}}. Osmund's scene with Averill in the barn is described as such, but it turns out that it may have been something else altogether.
* GenreBusting: A horror-action-period piece drama.
* GreyAndGrayMorality: The movie goes out of its way to show cruelty on both sides.
** ... Bordering on BlackAndBlackMorality on all sides.
* HolierThanThou
* HollywoodAtheist: Hob, (and possibly the other villagers) who declares there is no God, heaven or hell. His work is performing {{human sacrifice}}s of Christians that refuse to give up their faith ([[MortonsFork though those who do are still killed out of view]]). Langiva may be one too, as Hob is her follower, although her speech is more ambiguous between this and [[NayTheist denouncing God]] [[GodIsEvil as evil]].
* HollywoodCostuming: Sticklers will have a field day, again courtesy of WebVideo/{{Lindybeige}}. The usual ahistorical studded leather bondage gear that's supposed to be leather "armor" is present. You can see modern materials and fasteners such as pop-rivets on some costumes, and knitted fabric painted to look like chain mail.
* HollywoodTorches: Like a lot of movies, this one has an unrealistic amount of lighting by wastefully constantly burning torches.
* HumanSacrifice: Not played entirely straight, as [[spoiler: the "witch" knows full well she cannot perform magic and only kills people to keep the villagers in line. Perhaps witches lie and we can never be quite sure of what exactly Langiva does is magic or chemistry. If she was a true witch then by lying to Osmund she contributed to his corruption, a goal one would expect.]].
* IdiotBall: [[spoiler: The knights deeply distrust the villagers, know their leader knows her way with herbs, and still drink and eat what they offer]].
* KarmaHoudini: [[spoiler: Osmund ends up torturing and killing countless innocent women for her crimes, but Langiva apparently gets off scot free.]] This is left somewhat ambiguous, however.
* KillEmAll: [[spoiler: Out of the entire band of people they started out with, only Osmund and Wolfstan survived until the end of the movie.]]
* KnightTemplar: Ulric. [[spoiler: Later Osmund as well.]]
* LadyLand
* MaybeMagicMaybeMundane: [[spoiler:Whether or not Langiva actually practices magic or is just a keen judge of character and manipulator of desperate people remains in doubt. Certain circumstances support either idea.]]
* MercyKill:
** [[spoiler: Wolfstan]] gives one to [[spoiler: Griff when he reveals that he's got the plague]]. Characters also discuss the use of misericorde on the battlefield.
** Ulrich claimed that he killed the accused witch quickly in order to spare her from [[BurnTheWitch death by burning]] - a far worse fate.
* MissionFromGod: Ulric.
* NoGoodDeedGoesUnpunished: A woman who tried to protect her village with a blessing got accused of being a witch. Doubles as [[spoiler: IdiotBall, as even pretending to use magic is a bad idea among the superstitious folk in the times like this]].
* NothingIsScarier: [[spoiler: No demons, no witchcraft (maybe), just people turning on each other in times of desperation. The ending is a crushing example of this.]]
* OnlyInItForTheMoney: Word for word quote from the Squire.
* TheOphelia: [[spoiler: Subverted in that Averill was drugged, perhaps]].
* RagtagBandOfMisfits: Ulric's retinue consists of [[ShellShockedVeteran two war veterans]], a [[TheSpeechless mute soldier]], a [[PsychoForHire crazed murderer]], a [[TortureTechnician professional executioner/torturer]] and [[OnlyInItForTheMoney a mercenary]].
* RealIsBrown: Folks of all conditions are depicted wearing very drab clothing, and the monastery is shown as bare-walled and austere, whereas real-life medieval people were fond of colorful clothes and filled the insides of their religious buildings with painting. You'd think they'd at least put some paint and gold on the crucifix, they're Catholic for God's sake!
* RoaringRampageOfRevenge: [[spoiler: Osmund, at the end of the movie]].
* SecretlyDying: [[spoiler: Ulric.]]
* SeeYouInHell
* ShellShockedVeteran: Wolfstan appears to be heavily shaken by the events he witnessed at Crécy.
* ShootTheDog: Ulric [[spoiler: mercy-kills an accused witch instead of leaving her to a horrible death by burning.]] Also serves as his EstablishingCharacterMoment: There are many kinds of mercy...
* ShootTheShaggyDog: [[spoiler: The group arrives to the village and discover the inhabitants are actually heretics. They are then drugged and when they wake up the whole group is killed off one by one in horrific ways and Osmund is tricked into killing his lover. In the end only Osmund and one other member of the party survive, with Osmund's faith horrible shaken.]] We then discover that [[spoiler: the whole film was probably Osmund's StartOfDarkness as we get an epilogue showing that Osmund abandoned being a monk to search the land for the main witch, torturing and killing any girl that looks like her, and even ones that definitely ''don't'']].
* SlidingScaleOfIdealismVersusCynicism: Far on the cynical side.
* SlidingScaleOfShinyVersusGritty: Way, way, way on the side of gritty. In fact, when the company eventually reach the the village after days trudging through mud and grime, it is alienating in its cleanliness and serenity.
* SlutShaming: The men try this on Langiva, screaming "whore" when she presides over their captivity, even though she's done nothing even ''remotely'' sexual in her treatment of them, or anyone else for that matter (in fact, there's no sex or even nudity in the film, period). Most likely it's just a go-to insult toward any woman in that era.
* TakingYouWithMe: [[spoiler: Ulric]].
* TheSpeechless: Ivo had his tongue taken out by the French while a prisoner.
* StartOfDarkness: [[spoiler: Turns out the whole movie is effectively Osmund's.]]
* TakingYouWithMe: [[spoiler: Ulric, who revealed he had the plague just before he was killed]].
--> [[spoiler: Ulric]]: [[BadassBoast I am Death. Vengeance is mine.]]
* ThrowingYourSwordAlwaysWorks: Averted - Ulric tosses his blade at [[spoiler: the retreating highwaymen in the forest]], but it just clatters uselessly on the ground.
* TitleDrop: Averted. Though the movie is set during the [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin Black Death]], it is never named as such in any dialogue, usually referred to instead as "the pestilence." This is true to history, as the plague was not given its popular name until much later.
* TorchesAndPitchforks: The first village they encounter.
* TownWithADarkSecret: Somewhere between this and UncannyVillage, anyway.
* TheUnsolvedMystery: The whole thing. Was Langiva protecting the village from the plague, or was it just isolated? Was Averill brought back from the dead, brought from the brink of death with brain damage, or was she just drugged? Even the epilogue ends on an ambiguous note: is Osmund seeing Langiva's faces in every woman because she really has magic she's using on him, or is it simply that he's delusional?
* UtopiaJustifiesTheMeans
* WhatASenselessWasteOfHumanLife: The whole damn thing, whether people are dying from TheBlackDeath or the {{WitchHunt}}s that follow.
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