January 10, 2011


“Season of the Witch” is one of those movies that had such potential, but drowns (like the three women accused of being witches in the first scene) under the weight of its own petering out of imagination. The premise was solid, the casting was appropriate, the execution mostly enjoyable: What went wrong?

A frail, pretty young woman (the fetching Claire Foy from “Little Dorrit” whom we’ll be seeing plenty more of) is accused of being a powerful witch who has brought a deadly plague on every town she passes through. Two errant knight-crusaders (Nicholas Cage and the always spot-on Ron Perlman) are charged with bringing her safely to a monastery where she will have a fair trial. So far so good. The best scenes are the subtle, creepy interactions with “the witch,” a harmless looking creature, but as soon as you engage in conversation with her, she will find your weakness and use it against you.*

Without giving too much away, the whole thing climaxes with a ridiculous-looking, goofy, gray winged gargoyle that looks like an enhanced Antz. After tons and tons of supernatural powers and special effects, this wimpy reptilian bad guy can be pinned against the wall in mano a mano fighting with Nic Cage. Yeesh.

There are uneven directing and editing problems, also. So many times I wanted to shout: “Cut! Cut!” And some of the camera movements are so Austin Powers-like, I couldn’t believe the folks in my cinema didn’t burst out laughing. But these missteps occur in the middle of some great, tense sequences, which is a shame. This is not a tongue-in-cheek movie, although there are funny lines. It’s more of a supernatural thriller, with sometimes comic-book-hero action.

The Church is made to look like the powerful worldly entity it was back in the day, and there’s a fair amount of anti-religious barbs and jokes-at-the-expense-of-religion (which, of course, would have been very appropriate to the times, and no doubt, often well deserved). But Hollywood also recognizes the spiritual power wielded by the Church. However, the only hope to stop the darkness is “The Book of Solomon,” painstakingly copied by hand by monks. Oh dear: “Book of Solomon.” At first I thought—professional, informed Catholic that I am—“You mean the real book of the Bible: The Wisdom of Solomon? But how can you slay witches and demons with aphorisms?” I was so confused. Then I realized we were in quasi-fictional Dan Brown territory, because this Book of Solomon, although written and illuminated by monks, is “the book used by all the holy men through the ages” to overcome evil. Ooooh. This isn’t the Catholic brand, it’s generic. Leave it to a nun to spoil all the fun (by pointing this out).

A word about Nicholas Cage. In the first scene we see him in, we think “oh-oh.” He is sticking out like a sore thumb with his distinctly American-casual-diction and “I am Nicholas Cage” presence. My thoughts drifted to Kevin Costner in “Robin Hood.” The cast is mixed with Brits who can make ANYTHING sound like Shakespeare and make you utterly believe ANYTHING they say. I don’t know if Nic Cage can do period pieces. And I like the guy’s acting. I just think he needs really extreme characters with psychological-type quandaries.

Is “Witch” worth seeing? Yes. But I think things are at their spookiest without CGI! Why did the realistic-looking wolves (who were probably CGI themselves) suddenly need turbo-CGI faces? They became LESS scary! This is my beef with Stephen King, too. He sets up these amazing scenarios that get under your skin, and then he jumps to some outlandish, bad drug trip story-line that could definitely never happen in my living-room/house/town/life. And I can no longer relate, and I’m no longer frightened or interested.

Although in “Witch” much is made of chivalry and vows to God--the true nature of evil is never dealt with. The evil of sin that lives in our hearts. There are fleeting references to sin and penance, but actually with a sense of disbelief. In the new book “Light of the World,” Pope Benedict says: “We have to recover the understanding that it is really necessary to come to terms with evil. We cannot simply shove it aside or forget it. It has to be worked through and transformed from within.”

Hollywood gets evil half-right. But we will not be saved by a book. Not even the Book of Eli. We are saved by our relationship with God, the living Word of God.

It’s so much easier to draw a sword and decapitate demons than it is to wrestle the demons within. Interior battles are hard, lonely, unseen, unapplauded and unvalued in our completely external, Twitterized, publish-my-life world. But as Thomas More said in “Man for All Seasons”: God and your little circle around you will notice, “not a bad audience, that.” Want to really man-up? Take up your cross of a life of discipleship, spiritual discipline and self-sacrifice. Only love, truth, beauty and goodness will win the day.


--*I am tempted to a do a feminist read on the whole female witch thing, but I’ll spare you. Suffice it to reproduce a line of dialogue here: “The witch will turn men against each other.”

--“The greatest persecution of the Church comes not from her enemies without, but arises from sin within the Church.” –Pope Benedict XVI

--Another word to Hollywood about CGI: I hate things morphing into other things all the time. Cease and desist, you shape-shifters!

--Like I said, I don’t believe this movie was meant to be tongue in cheek, so I think it was a bad thing when Monty Python came to mind once or twice.

--“Witch” might even be a candidate for “Mystery Science Theater 3000” because I was reflexively thinking up awesome MST3K lines as we went along.

--Director Dominic Sena also did “Swordfish,” “Gone in 60 Seconds,” and “Kalifornia.”

--The real outdoor settings are spectacular with a mottled color palette of brown, blue, black and white.

--We could have done without the frequent “Happy Trails,” suspender-snapping, horseback reminiscences of the two knights. But Nicholas Cage looked like a good horseman.

--What was with those doctors with the bird beaks surrounding the dying Cardinal?? Looked occult.

--Great line when the merry band realizes the proportions of the evil they’re dealing with: “We’re gonna need more holy water.”

--Good switch from knights killing people to spiritual warfare.

--Some good advice from “Witch” about evil:

Don’t even talk to evil. It’s way smarter than you.

Turn to God and the Church.

Don’t sell relics.

“God will never abandon us.”

“We believe what we want to believe” to our own salvation or ruination.

Satan is the “accuser”—he’s always bringing up our sins before us (and not in a good way, to do something about them, but so that we’ll despair over them).

Bookmark and Share


  1. Anonymous3:41 PM

    "What was with those doctors with the bird beaks surrounding the dying Cardinal?? Looked occult." I haven't seen the movie yet, but do know that up to the Renaisance/Enlightenment, doctors sometimes wore head coverings that looked like bird beaks (with the beaks filled with herbs or something else) in the belief it would prevent the doctor from catching the patient's disease.

  2. Thanks. I knew it had to be something like that. Freaky as it looked. squawk!

  3. Gustave3:20 AM

    " Ooooh. This isn’t the Catholic brand, it’s generic. Leave it to a nun to spoil all the fun (by pointing this out). "

    Hooot! You made my day, Sr. Laughed out loud in the office.... :)

  4. Gustave--we aim to please. ;]

  5. I need to point out that this movie is full of Masonic and other esoteric symbology. For some enlightening insights into what this movie refers to and encodes, start with the following press release and take from there. Once you grasp the symbology the hidden story line will be even more amazing than the movie. Even the release date and poster are a purposeful code for those with eyes to see. Even the odd shaped graves made of many stones is a purposeful symbol from Freemasonry.

    The "beast" being defeated my men, for the sake of the woman, is symbolic and not literal. It is important to remember that this was only possible because the Book of Solomon was being read to weaken it. Such details are very important considering what I have just published.

    The Book of Solomon is also referred to as the Liber Salomonis (do a Google Search). The legend of Solomon's Temple and related details are pivotal within Freemasonry for the symbology involved.

    I bring you light !! (Yes, I know what some will erroneously conclude...)

    33rd Degree Secrets Published to Help Awaken World from Long Nightmare

    Peace and WIsdom...

  6. Please excuse the typo...

    "my men" should be "by men"

  7. Dear Seven Star Hand,
    Yes--my antennae went up when I heard the ref to "Solomon" (I know the Masonic connections).
    There's a new movie being filmed in Mexico as we speak (most exp. MX movie ever made: $30M. It exposes how the U.S. gov & Masons supplied the MX communist government in its persecution of the Catholic Church). Movie is called "Cristiada." Stars E. Longoria, P. O'Toole, A. Garcia, E. Verastagui.... Watch for it!

  8. Dear Helena,
    I don't want to seem too harsh, but the time for the truth has arrived. These are lies created by the Vatican and operatives because they fear the truth about symbology. Why? Because it proves that Christianity is a blatant lie. Read my recent press releases to grasp that the Vatican also fears me because I am the Messiah of the Book of Revelation (seven stars in my right hand, etc.) and am living proof that Christian founders modified Revelation to insert John, Jesus, and other lies.

    I come "as a thief" which means hidden and stealthy instead of the lies many have been duped into falling for. People who rape children in such great numbers, and conspire to cover it up and escape justice are not the Creator's servants, but Her opponents.

    Here is Wisdom...