A 14th century Crusader returns to a homeland devastated by the Black Plague. A beleaguered church, deeming sorcery the culprit of the plague, commands the two knights to transport an accused witch to a remote abbey, where monks will perform a ritual in hopes of ending the pestilence. A priest, a grieving knight, a disgraced itinerant and a headstrong youth who can only dream of becoming a knight join a mission troubled by mythically hostile wilderness and fierce contention over the fate of the girl. When the embattled party arrives at the abbey, a horrific discovery jeopardises the knight's pledge to ensure the girl fair treatment, and pits them against an inexplicably powerful and destructive force.Written by
The concept of diabolical witchcraft--malevolent acts undertaken mostly by women through a compact with the devil, as shown here in the movie's opening scene that took place in 1235 and the main action in the 1340s--developed later in the Middle Ages. European Christians had a notion of the devil at work in the world and sometimes getting humans to do his bidding, but up until the 1430s it was mostly learned men who performed alchemical, necromantic, and astrological experiments who were thought to be in league with the devil (albeit for good not evil intentions). Very few witch executions or hunts took place in Europe before the late 1400s, and most accused witches before that were men. See more »
nonsensical and unsatisfying ending ruins the film
Nic Cage is becoming the master of these kinds of movies. I'm not talking supernatural thrillers, I'm talking films that themematically start out a certain way and then flip in to the land of complete crap somewhere along the way. (The recent film "Knowing" springs to mind as an example) As the film progressed, I thought it was interesting, albeit far darker then I was expecting. By the end, the story spins off to freaky land and beyond. A movie you think could be directed towards exploring religious fanaticism or even faith itself instead spins in to a supernatural clusterflub of demons and stupidity. The ending and terrible direction absolutely ruins what was a pretty good first two-thirds of a movie. What makes this twice as bad is the fact that it's a "journey" film, meaning that everything that was set up leads to the resolution. In this case, the resolution is nonsensical and unsatisfying and negates just about anything good about the first two-thirds of its running time.
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