Film: Season of the Witch
Season of the Witch
is a 2011 supernatural-themed action adventure period film starring Nicolas Cage
and Ron Perlman
as former Crusade Knights who must transport a witch to a monastery. Naturally things do not go well.
Not to be confused with Halloween III: Season of the Witch
or the 1971 Romero film of the same name.
The film provides the following tropes:
- A House Divided: Subverted. It looks like the witch is trying to turn the group against each other, but she's only removing anyone who'll stop her from getting to the abbey.
- Anachronism Stew
- Artistic License – Biology: The Black Death is portrayed as a leprosy-like disease that causes boils all over the face and hideously disfigures its victims. In reality, the disease, by most accounts, only caused swellings in the lymph glands (the throat, armpits and groin).
- The Atoner: Behman feels guilty over accidentally killing a woman during a siege. The Demon later mocks him for thinking that saving the accused girl would atone for the far greater number of innocents he's killed.
- Anyone Can Die
- Body-Count Competition: Loser buys the drinks. You take the 300 on the left, I'll take the 300 on the right. However they note, that will just leave the score at 300:300.
Behman: Fine I guess I'll just have to kill all 600 myself.
- Boisterous Bruiser: Felson, greatly enjoys his fights and is quite a fun guy overall.
- Burn the Witch!: Averted in the prologue where three accused witches are shown being hanged, then drowned in case they're Not Quite Dead. Unfortunately for the priest carrying out the ritual, one of them definitely isn't.
- Butt Monkey: Through the course of the movie, the all ready unfortunately named Debelzaq gets stabbed through his palm with his own cross, rope burns on both of his hands, a lot of accusations of molesting the witch. And he dies without much of a fanfare
- Cardboard Prison: It turns out the girl could have escaped from her cage at any time.
- Ceiling Cling / Running on All Fours: The possessed monks.
- Church Militant: A pretty solid description for the church served by Felson and Behman
- Conspicuous CG: While the demon isn't too badly animated, the digital demon wolf faces are not quite on the same level.
- Conveniently Timed Attack From Behind
- Demonic Possession
- Evil Plan: The villain is a demon that seeks the only book with the knowledge to banish it back to hell in order to destroy it and the entire movie is the heroes helping them find it. Also a case of Using You All Along.
- Fantasy Writers Have No Sense Of Scale: The planned journey of 400 leagues — that's 1,200 miles — in six days. On horseback. Much of it through heavy woods.
- Game Face: Both witches and wolves have these.
- Heel Realization: At the start of the film when Behman and Felson find themselves killing innocent women and children, they realize what they've been doing and decide to desert the crusades.
- Heroic Sacrifice: both Behman and Felson die to give Kay time to complete the exorcism. In Behman's case, it's also implied he would rather die himself than resort to tactics that would also kill the demon's innocent host.
- Hot Witch Or so they think — actually it's a case of Demonic Possession.
- Irony: Early in the film, when wondering what the punishment for desertion is, Ron Perlman said he would rather be executed by hanging than burning. During the climax of the film, he is incinerated alive in the demon's "bear hug"
- Hey, It's That Guy!: Well, you might have missed Hammer Horror veteran Christopher Lee actually, as he's the plague-deformed Cardinal.
- Knight in Sour Armor: Behman.
- MacGuffin: The Key of Solomon, which is the whole reason for the journey.
- Naked on Revival: When the Demon is destroyed, Anna — the girl it was possessing — reappears in its place naked.
- Neck Lift: The Demon does this to Behman. For priests it prefers the Neck Snap.
- No Name Given: The witch, though it's finally subverted at the end of the film when she's exorcised and introduces herself as Anna.
- Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Nic Cage and Ron Perlman play 14th century Europeans with broad American accents. Bizarrely inverted with the supporting characters, most of whom were played by British or European actors. The director apparently instructed them all to speak with American accents, presumably to blend in with the lead actors. Unfortunately, none of them were using the same American accent. And very few of them were using it consistently.
- Oh, Crap: After the Cute Witch turns into One-Winged Angel with Super Strength who can melt its way out of its cage.
- Offhand Backhand: Done on a charging wolf, no less.
- Ominous Latin Chanting
- Our Zombies Are Different: They're people who have died of plague who have become possessed by minor demons. Cutting off their head works just as well though.
- The Plague: The plague.
- Playing with Fire
- Retirony: both Behman and Felson had chosen to retire from the crusading life, only to be persuaded to go on one last holy quest.
- Rope Bridge: The predictably rickety bridge over the gaping chasm.
- Savage Wolves: Dire wolves, even.
- Stealth Pun: Everyone's pronunciation of "Debelzaq".
- Super Strength: The first clue the girl isn't some innocent scapegoat tortured into making a false confession.
- Tempting Fate: As soon as Felson mentioned how he wanted to go back home after this was all over, you know he's dead meat.
- Trailers Always Spoil:
- In TV spots, it is revealed that the witch turns into a demon
- The beginning of the movie implies that the girl might just be a misunderstood innocent caught in a witch hunt. Anyone who's seen a trailer for the movie knows this isn't the case.
- The trailer gives away the fact that the inhabitants of the monastery have been turned into zombies.
- Use Your Head: Felson is quite fond of this. Unfortunately it doesn't work on Demons.
- Xanatos Gambit: The heroes are charged with taking their prison to a monastery for trial and possible execution, but whether they arrive safely or not works to their prisoner's advantage. If any of them try to kill her before they get there, out of paranoia or whatever, murder is a cardinal sin. If any of them die before reaching the monastery, the Demon has less interference to destroying the book needed to send it back to Hell. The heroes are leading them right to it.
- You Said You Would Let Me Go: In the prologue, one of the accused witches confesses thinking her life will be spared.
Accused: "Wait, you said you would spare me!"
Priest: "Your soul, child. But your body must be consigned to God for absolution."