Drama/Horror, 102 Minutes, 2010
First, a warning: at first glance you’d be forgiven for thinking otherwise, but this is a straight historical thriller. There’s no monsters, zombies, vampires or any other supernatural elements. While the tag-line promises the “ultimate battle against evil” all we really ever get is some borderline atheism and a few scenes of 14th century torture.
Set during the height of the plague years in Britain the story revolves around a young monk and a knight of the church who, with a band of mercenary inquisitors, are sent to investigate rumors of a remote village which has made a satanic pact with a witch to protect them from the pestilence.
Sean Bean is always excellent with the swords and armor and there’s nothing to complain about here. The rest of the performances are good to middling but there are no glaring stinkers. The settings are suitably medieval and often striking. If there’s a real complaint it may be the pacing, which is glacial, but does suit the story. The end also drags on a bit too long and tends towards the preachy end of the narrative scale.
Being fascinated by the dark ages and their impact on history I enjoyed this. Besides it’s always fun to be reminded that if it weren’t for four centuries of superstitious nonsense ruling the greater part of the world we probably would have the Internet in the late 1600’s.