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Black Death
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Black Death More at IMDbPro »

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Grim but great!

8/10
Author: andymcneill75 from United Kingdom
29 November 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I'm gonna keep this review short but this was a great little horror thriller set in medieval times and all about the spread of the pestilence of the black death and how a small army of men seek out the evil and hunt witches and end up in a real battle with a witch. Sean Bean is the star of the film but for me Eddie Redmayne was excellent and there was great support from John Lynch, Andy Nyman, Tim McInnery and Carice Van Houten. Overall i wasn't expecting it to be as good as it was but was pleasantly surprised and thought it was entertainingly bleak, creepy and quite a haunting film that will stay with you when you've finished with it. Christopher Smith is a director to really take note of and the script was brilliant and Christian Henson delivers a superb score!! Up there with Witchfinder General and it's like and well worth watching!!

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Surprisingly good

7/10
Author: quinnox-1 from United States
19 September 2011

I wasn't sure what to expect when I sat down to watch this movie. I knew Sean Bean was in it and that it was set in the middle ages during the plague, but that's about it.

It turned out to be a good suspense movie with some nice plot twists. The best part is how the suspense is slowly built up, until you think you might know what is really going on, and then later you understand its something completely different. No spoilers, but the way the story keeps you guessing and fools you is quite well done.

The acting is good too with all the minor characters doing believable performances. Carice van Houten is especially noteworthy and interesting as the village leader. She was entrancing and definitely the stand out in the movie. Sean Bean does a workmanlike job as a righteous knight, and as usual is a good presence in the film.

A note on the ending - yes, as other reviewers have said, the ending feels rushed and tacked on, and completely unnecessary. But I can overlook it because it's quite brief and can be shrugged off and doesn't detract from the rest of the movie to any degree in my opinion.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

How RELIGION can be corrupt and poisonous in a time of great disaster.

7/10
Author: Victoria Rose from United Kingdom
28 August 2011

Human societies can be horribly challenged by war, famine, and disease. It is the latter that "Black Death" puts into grim focus.

The film shows how the plague can seize anyone ( the mighty or the low ) and kill without mercy. Europe during the mid 1300s was not the most supportive environment for scientific research and certainly not the time for government aid and disaster relief.

What citizens got instead was superstition and self delusion from their religious leaders. "Black Death" is an indictment of Christian religion and its gross failure during the plague years in medieval England.

In effect, we see two plagues: one caused by a microorganism and another caused by superstitious religion. Both are equally ruthless.

Sean Bean portrays a weary knight bound on a mission. Hearing rumours of a remote village by a marsh that is not only plague free but able to resurrect the dead, he has assembled a small band of battle hardened warriors to investigate. He persuades a young monk familiar with the marshlands to lead the party. The knight and his men trudge along with a heavy iron torture device that can "split any man from his arsehole to his apple."

The Christian adventurers want to do "God's work" and bring back the "witch" or "necromancer" responsible for keeping the remote village safe from the plague. On their journey the knight and his men bear witness to corpses piled about like rotting logs. Desperate people want someone to blame. Who better to point the finger at than defenseless, unarmed women and accuse them of being witches?

The knight and his men are dark, dirt streaked, and callous. In contrast, two important female characters are blonde and beautiful.

A great deal of harm could have been avoided had the zealous knight stayed home to pray away the plague.

Be prepared to see cruelty. There is nothing uplifting to see here.

Love is trampled. The two plagues have their way.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Do unto others as you would have others do unto you

7/10
Author: StrongKanegou from Mc-Murdo-Station, Antarctica
23 July 2011

The bubonic plague is ravaging 14th century England. The monk Osmund (Eddie Redmayne) volunteers to guide Ulrich (Sean Bean), envoy of the Bishop, and his motley crew of inquisitors to a village miraculously unharmed by the Black Death. The movie liberally borrows bits and pieces from various historical periods (and fiction) to create its own version of this 14th -century plague-ridden England, which is, historically speaking, somewhat (not to say highly) inaccurate. The good thing is, though, that this fact could not be any less concerning, since the movie only uses the black plague and its time as a backdrop to convey its basic narrative.

The characters in this picture are very strongly put on screen. Each of Ulrich's companions have their own cross to carry – the characters are introduced in a very concise yet poignant way, leaving the actors enough room to unfold, develop and convey their characters. John Lynn, Emun Elliott , Johnny Harris, Andy Nyman, and Tygo Gernandt perform superbly, supported by a solid costume department, despite the aforementioned drawbacks concerning historical (in-)accuracies.

Moreover, the pacing of this film is excellent as this group of god-fearing men ventures further into the British marshland. The eerie cleanliness of the village which marks the end of their journey stands in stark contrast to the environs depicted before. The ensuing confrontation within the village's walls highlights the film's main motifs of devotion, conviction and religious relentlessness. What the movie accomplishes very aptly is to depict the human side of those motifs without ever becoming moralizing about religious beliefs themselves.

What follows, though, is the film's absolute weak point. The ending does not only feel very much tacked on – the developments, which are presented in the last three minutes, are so profound that they, in my opinion, warrant a much bigger portion of the movie than granted. And this is where I am at odds with this film: Up to this point, it has delivered an above par (for its genre) performance; somewhat ambitious at times, but always able to keep the promises it set out to make in the first place. The ending, however, reveals a character development so profound that the way it is presented does in no way do justice to its (I am tempted to say epic) ramifications. Should it have been omitted then? I do not think so, since the end provides a further depth to this film that I wouldn't want to miss – it is the fashion in which it is presented that leaves me with an uneasy feeling.

Make no mistake – this picture is, within the adventure/fantasy/history genre, able to convey an interesting point with a somewhat fresh approach. Up until right before the end, this works perfectly, rendering this whole film a solid enterprise. The added ending, however, leaves you wanting something more than this film is able to deliver. Definitely still worth your time, though – give this one a try.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Quite An Achievement

8/10
Author: samkan from Poconos, Pennsylvania
18 June 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

It takes enormous guts to make a period piece without major stars, historical content or some other "wild card" draw. There are no big draws or special tricks at work here: BLACK DEATH is at its heart a traditional suspense film relying on intrigue and plot elements, albeit with a measure of action and adventure. Surprise. The story and script are very good and while the setting and plot could have carried a lot of gratuitous nonsense, BLACK DEATH is really rather lean; i.e., little eye candy with virtually all of the dialog and scenes moving the story along and deeper into the suspense. Many - if not most - movies, especially of this type, paint themselves into a corner and escape with a clumsy storyline (some event that could not have been legitimately foreseen) or just a bloody fight to the finish. BLACK DEATH's ending, by contrast, is as satisfying as it is surprising but.......by "ending" I do not mean the last three or four minutes "epilogue". The story truly ends when our young hero is delivered back to the monastery. While the last few minutes are not anti-climatic, its important to note that such are an "epilogue" in the true sense and meaning of said devise; e.g., unlike most movies that use such explanatory moments to alleviate confusion and otherwise apply a band aid to plot and ending problems.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

The title is "Black Death" and it should be an indicator that it's not a happy film.

7/10
Author: garyvanhorn from United States
1 June 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

No sunshine or lollipops in this film. As you might have guessed from the title, the movie takes place during the 14th century outbreak if the bubonic plague in England, and it is very, very dark.

The story centers around a young monk named Osmund (Eddie Redmayne) who sees the need of a church enforcer (Sean Bean) for a guide as a sign that he can do God's work from beyond the walls of the monastery. Sean Bean leads a small group of warriors that seeks out heretics, witches, and daemons and slays them. Reports have reached the church of a village that has escaped the ravages of the plague and foul magic is suspected.

The movie feels very much like The 13th Warrior, a small band of warriors, joined by an outsider, head into a remote and thinly settled countryside to encounter enemies of a supernatural nature that turn out to be less than supernatural. The movie does a good job of establishing a dark tone without making everything seem hopeless and pointless. There isn't a great deal of time devoted to characterization and the movie is a bit short at only 97 minutes, but I suspect any more time spent in the grim and desolate world that the director has created would rapidly encounter diminishing returns. If a grim, brutal, grounded in reality, sword swinging movie is what you want, Black Death will be what you want. If you want a happy movie with a cheery ending, look elsewhere.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

It's a shame movies like this don't get more publicity and mainstream play.

7/10
Author: Hellmant from United States
16 May 2011

'BLACK DEATH': Three and a Half Stars (Out of Five)

Medieval religious horror film set in 1348 England during the bubonic plague outbreak. Sean Bean stars as a knight on a mission to find and capture a necromancer, a person with the ability to breath life into the dead. Eddie Redmayne co-stars as a young monk who agrees to be his guide. The film is directed by Christopher Smith (an experienced British horror filmmaker with movies like 'TRIANGLE', 'SEVERANCE' and 'CREEP' under his belt) and written by Dario Poloni. I was pretty pleased with the film and found it to be a great deal better than other recent medieval action/horror films ('CENTURION', 'THE EAGLE', etc.).

Redmayne plays Osmand, a monk who has fallen for a young woman, Averill (Kimberley Nixon), staying at his monastery. As the plague spreads through the monastery Osmand sends her to what he believes is safety in the marshes which she came. She asks him to meet her there within a week and Osmand, not sure whether he should give up his vows for this woman, asks God for a sign telling him what to do. He thinks he gets this sign when a team of knights pass through looking for a guide to the very area Osmand sent his love. They're led by Ulric (Bean) a hardened faith driven soldier on a quest to vanquish Satin's evildoers and believes one such abomination lives in a village in the marshes and is bringing the dead back to life. Osmand joins the men on their quest and for the first time truly puts his faith to the test, as do the soldiers.

I find religion themed movies interesting as well as entertaining, especially ones that explore faith and it's impact on people to this depth. I also very much enjoy horror films and medieval action movies so this movie was of course right up my alley. It had the perfect balance of all three elements. The movie is very involving as well as thought provoking and thrilling. It's very gloomy and leaves a disturbing impression, especially the darkly twisted ending. The directing is more than fitting to the material and the screenplay is smart and well thought out. Bean and Redmayne are exceptional as the two leads and the supporting cast is all impressive as well. There's plenty of gory and gruesome bloody violence for the splatter fans also. The movie really works at what it sets out to do, it's a shame movies like this don't get more publicity and mainstream play.

Watch our review show 'MOVIE TALK' at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PF5zRynRifs

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Two wrong paths to choose from

Author: unbrokenmetal from Hamburg, Germany
26 April 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

'Black Death', despite the violence on the surface, has subtle moments without need for words. When characters despair over the plague that was seemingly sent by God and you spot a rat running over a corpse in the corner of the screen just that second, yes, that makes you realize the whole tragedy of people who are faced with a terrible thing they can't understand without knowledge of microbiology. Nobody could imagine yet that rats had something to do with the spreading of the disease, and thus the only way out they thought of was - religion. Christians go to kill witches and all unbelievers. On the other hand, a self-proclaimed witch offers to revive the dead by trickery, so paganism is not a real alternative, either. The reason why they escaped the plague is a simple misconception. 'Black Death', in my understanding, is not discussing the subject of 'Christians vs. pagans' – it is speaking against any religion altogether. The characters may only choose which of the two wrong ways they'll go – but death will get them all, anyway.

Hats off to the director of photography: I have never seen pictures of NE Germany as sinister and spooky as those created for this movie. Christopher Smith mentioned 'Apocalypse Now' in the UK DVD making-of; it's obvious what that classic has in common with 'Black Death', but hard to believe a similar atmosphere could successfully be created with rather low budget in Germany instead of exotic jungles. Hardly ever, I've seen fight scenes as realistic as in 'Black Death': when you hit a guy over the head with a heavy metal thing, he falls down bleeding. He does not stand up to attack you three more times for a nice heroic 'battle'. Basically, it's simple and brutal butchery by the more experienced warriors, not heroic show-time. If reviewers complained about fights being too short so you don't see much, that tells a lot about the movie clichés we all grew up with, but it's hardly a point against this movie.

'Black Death' is definitely thought-provoking. Whereas other movies offer a happy ending saying if the mission is completed, everything will be fine, the terrifying message of 'Black Death' is that even such a mission may not help in any way to improve the world, an impression you might find verified by the 8 o'clock news sometimes.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Not a light trollop through gondor.

8/10
Author: patrickmaura from Chicago
8 April 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This movie oozes atmosphere and as far as I am concerned well acted and well written.

Its a about a young priest who joins together with a band of soldiers who are off to determine whether a small village that so far seems immune to the plague in the medieval ages is being run by necromancer.

Nothing is black in white in this movie at all there is no redemption towards the end only questions about our own humanity and how religion of all forms can be perverted into personal agendas.

Also make no mistake this movie is violent, torture and brutal skirmishes are in this, not light stuff. Sean Bean is not Boromir in this flick he is a super tortured soldier.

I enjoyed this movie a great deal, and it was a disturbing ride to see this young priest fall from grace in a horrific way.

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

A Surprisingly Good Movie

8/10
Author: Kyle Murdoch from United States
6 August 2014

This movie follows the story of a young monk in 1348 who leaves his monastery to help guide a crusader while the Black Death was sweeping over Europe. After being attacked during their journey they stumble upon a village to seek rest and shelter but the village is mysteriously unaffected by the plague. In this village everything seems just too perfect and everyone knows something isn't quite right.

I appreciate this film as a Christian. It was encouraging to see true faith and love for God displayed in a believable way. Especially in a film that was not made by Christians.

This is a fairly gory and violent film so I don't recommend anyone watch it that has a weak stomach but to those who can handle the R rating I don't think you will be disappointed.

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