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Season of the Witch | 2011 | PG-13 | - 3.7.4

Two knights (Nicolas Cage and Ron Perlman) in medieval Europe break ranks with the church after a religious raid on women and children left them shaken and uncertain. They are then enlisted to transport a young woman accused of being a witch to an abbey, where monks possess a book that will disable her powers and lift the plague that they believe she is responsible for spreading. Also with Stephen Campbell Moore, Claire Foy, Ulrich Thomsen, Stephen Graham and Christopher Lee. Directed by Dominic Sena. [1:38]

SEX/NUDITY 3 - Men are shown in a bar and they are surrounded by women who wear low-cut tops that reveal cleavage; they caress the men while they talk and laugh and one woman sits on a man's lap. A young woman lies fully nude on her stomach on the floor (we see her bare back, legs, arms and hip). Several shirtless men walk along a road (we see their bare backs and chests). A woman in shackles in a dungeon cell is shown with bloody lash marks on her back and we see her bare upper back and shoulders.
 Two men talk about a woman and one mentions that she had stolen from the other man; he responds, "But she gave me so much pleasure in return."


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VIOLENCE/GORE 7 - Three women with nooses around their necks are thrown over a bridge and hung (we hear a crack after each woman hangs); we see them swinging and dangling, and then lowered into the water below.
 A man with a sword stabs a young woman though the chest (we see her face, and there's blood on the wound and in her mouth) and she falls to the ground among many other dead women and children with bloody wounds (a man has several flashbacks to this scene throughout the film).
 A young woman in an enclosed cart with metal bars pulls a man outside the cart into the bars knocking him unconscious (we see bloody bruises on his face later); then she takes a cross from around the neck of another man and stabs him in the hand (we see the bloody hand with the crucifix sticking out of it as the man screams).
 A man is stabbed through the chest by a sword (we hear a crunch and he slumps to the ground dead; no blood is visible). A man has a nightmare about stabbing a young woman through the chest and we see blood on her mouth and hand as she licks her fingers. A man is stabbed in the back, and he pulls the dagger out and falls to the ground (we see bloody wound).
 Wolves chase men on horseback, one man falls off his horse and is surrounded by wolves, they attack and we hear barking, snarling, tearing and the man screaming (we see blood on the coats of the animals). Many wolves surround several men and then attack; several wolves are stabbed with swords (we see the animals lifted in the air with the sword running through their bodies), one wolf bites a man's leg and is then stabbed, another bites a young man's neck (we see blood on his neck) and the wolf is then stabbed and we see many carcasses around the men.
 A man pulls three dead women out of a river by the ropes used to hang them earlier, one woman pulls him into the water, tries to grab his foot as he pulls himself to shore, then flies out of the water (we see her with gray-tinged skin, pointed teeth and her fingers stretch and grow long nails), stands near him and sets the religious book he's reading from ablaze, another woman vomits (we see goo splatter), thrashes and seizes, and the third lies motionless (we see bloody wounds on their necks when they are pulled out of the water); the man is then thrown over the bridge and hung (we hear a crack and the rope stretching as he swings).
 A winged demon holds a man by the throat against a large pillar (the man thrashes) until another man attacks the demon. A winged demon wraps its wings around a man and sets him on fire (we her the man scream, we see the man in flames, and burning embers fall in a pile to the ground). A winged demon stabs a man in the back repeatedly with the talons on its wings (we see the bloody stab wounds). A young woman paces inside a carriage with metal bars, the bars glow red hot and the top of the carriage burns away, the young woman transforms into a demon (we see gray-tinged skin, sharp teeth, long and pointed fingers), two men with swords attack her, she throws them and she transforms into a flying creature that swoops toward another man (he falls to the ground unharmed). A large winged demon (with horns, green flesh and talons on its bat-like wings) swoops toward several people and threatens them; many other winged creatures swarm an abbey and toward the people inside, and the heads of the demons are lopped off (we se the heads disappear and a puff of clear liquid sprays out of the neck). A winged demon holds a hook over a man's face and slashes across his eye (we see the bloody wound). A winged demon holds a man's face in its hands and twists to break his neck (we hear a crunch and see the man's head turned completely around). A winged demon bursts into flames and disappears into dust. A small winged demon flies into the open mouth of a dead man and he is revived (this happens to several other dead men but we do not see it).
 Huge armies of men with swords face off in at least five battle sequences that show men being slashed and run through (we hear squishing, bones cracking and slashing and we see blood spurt from wounds); one battle shows men using catapults that throw flaming boulders toward a structure.
 Two men fight with several guards; they punch and head-butt each other until three crossbowmen take aim at the men and they stop fighting (we see a bit of blood on a guard's face). A young woman attacks a man and tries to choke him, then jumps toward another man and tries to choke him until two other men pull her off him and strike her in the head knocking her unconscious. A man and a young man fight with swords and the fight is stopped when one holds a sword to the chest of the other (no injuries are shown); as he walks away he is smacked on the back. A young woman throws a man and then tries to strangle him until another man throws her against a wall.
 Several men struggle to get a carriage across a rickety bridge that hangs over a deep crevice and a river; they use horses to pull and men pull on ropes attached to it, the carriage slips and pulls on the ropes causing one man's hand to bleed, he lets go of the rope, the carriage rolls back onto the bridge, and a man and a young man are knocked off the bridge and dangle on the sides (one gets back up and the other is pulled to safety); then they push and the carriage is moved off the bridge just as it breaks away. A man walks a horse across a rickety bridge.
 Several men chase a young woman toward dirt passageways that lead to a mass grave (we see many dead bodies floating in a pit). A dog tears at the flesh of a dead body, and it turns and snarls and barks at a man that swats it with a flaming torch.
 Several men are found dead and we see their faces covered with blisters and discolored flesh on the hands and faces. We see a man and a woman dead and covered with sores and open wounds (we see their badly discolored flesh and flies buzz around them); the woman lunges toward a man that pulls a cover back to find them and then falls motionless again. We see a pile of dead bodies partly covered by a tarp being wheeled in a cart (we see discolored flesh on the exposed body parts). A body is thrown onto cart with a pile of other bodies and we see evidence of sores and blisters on their flesh. A man with sores and growths on his face lies dead on a bed. A young woman is grabbed on a street and we see that she has lesions on her face. A man infected by the plague is shown to have large, discolored growths on his head and face and part of his lip has deteriorated exposing discolored teeth and several containers of what looks like blood are on a tray near him.
 A woman in shackles struggles against two guards that lead her to a bridge and place a noose around her neck while she pleads for mercy. Several men walk along a road while flogging themselves (we see bloody cuts on their backs). We see a man's bloody hand wound and another man pours alcohol on it (the man moans). A man's hand bleeds heavily through the bandage that wraps it. A woman in shackles in a dungeon cell is shown with bloody lash marks on her back. A man is in stocks and we see spoiled and splattered food on the wooden structure around his head (suggesting that people had thrown food at him).
 A man with a crossbow points it at a young woman (he does not shoot). A man holds a sword to a young man's throat and threatens him. A man points a crossbow at a young woman and then a man (he does not shoot).
 A young man appears to be guilt-ridden after an accidental killing. Several men walk through a thick forest blanketed by fog sand one man refers to it as "Wormwood Forest," saying that many men have entered and have never been heard from since. We hear numerous references to "the plague" and that many people have died from the infection. A man asks: "What do they do with deserters? Hang them? Burn them?" to which another man replies "Probably both." A young woman talks about a friend of hers being accused of being a witch and that the friend's pockets were filled with stones, she was thrown into water and when she did not drown they burned her at the stake. A man makes a comment about a priest acting like "someone pissed in his holy water."
 A woman is shown to be filthy and one of her eyes is discolored as she makes threatening remarks to a man. We see people wearing masks in a few scenes that resemble the face of a bird in order to avoid infection. Two men are locked in a dungeon cell. A young woman is shown wearing shackles and locked in a dungeon cell (she paces on her hands and knees). A woman is shown unconscious on the floor of a dungeon cell. We see three graves covered with piles of rocks and with swords as markers.
 A man reacts to the smell of spoiled food. A young woman lies fully nude on her stomach on the floor covered with a clear slime.


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LANGUAGE 4 - 1 scatological term, 2 anatomical terms, 8 mild obscenities, name-calling (unholy enemy, devil, cockroaches, jack rabbit, swindler, deceiver, spineless scoundrel, enemy of God, witch), 5 religious exclamations.


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SUBSTANCE USE - Men and women are shown drinking alcohol in a bar, and a man drinks from a flask in a few scenes. A man says that a young woman is unconscious from a sedative she was given the night before.


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DISCUSSION TOPICS - Witches, the Crusades, killing in the name of God, mercy, murder, desertion, adultery, theft, sins, kindness, weakness, honor, shame, vows, benevolence, demons.

MESSAGE - The distinction between good an evil is easily blurred.

CAVEATS

Be aware that while we do our best to avoid spoilers it is impossible to disguise all details and some may reveal crucial plot elements.

We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and older reviews are not as complete & accurate as recent ones; we plan to revisit and correct older reviews as resources and time permits.

Our ratings and reviews are based on the theatrically-released versions of films; on video there are often Unrated, Special, Director's Cut or Extended versions, (usually accurately labelled but sometimes mislabeled) released that contain additional content, which we did not review.


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