Black Death 2010 UK
Directed by Christopher Smith
Screening at cinemas now
Some spoilers here... beware!
Ok... not quite what I was expecting. I will have to say, up front, that this is a really well put together movie by Mr. Smith and much more gripping and fraught than his previous efforts and highly recommended as a piece of movie making that is worth giving some time too.
That being said, however, I have to say that it’s not a movie I’d watch again out of choice. I have a real blind spot when it comes to certain subject matter in film... one is witchcraft/satanist inquisition and torture and the other is gangsters (unless it’s Jimmy Cagney or Bogart). It’s not that I’m all that squeamish, it’s just that I find those kinds of “real life” horrors as something that is just too close to home (go to school in my home town and you’ll see enough gangsters) to warrant my having to look at that stuff in a movie. This is why I shy away from films like Witchfinder General or De Palma’s remake of Scarface. Just not my cup o’ tea.
I was expecting, from the trailer, for this movie to be another tread of Crichton’s The Thirteenth Warrior in tone... the plot of Black Death is that a priest joins up with some knights to find out why a village in Denby has not had any people lost to the bubonic plague which is ravaging the country. They go with their instruments of torture to find the obvious satanist ringleader who has so obviously made a pact with the devil to spare their village. I was expecting... I don’t know... real demons and ogres battling with our heroes when they got there. What we get instead is, indeed, a bunch of satanists... but of the trickster and sleight of hand variety... no supernatural doings at all. Scooby Doo endings all around as far as the validity of said satanists go.
Lots of blood, torture and religious moralising. All very well shot, performed, written and with an extremely nice and strong visual style (although, dude, the rats looked way too clean)... but not my cup o’ hemlock as I said before.
It even has a quite haunting and brilliant epilogue to the story... but I couldn’t honestly personally suggest this movie to anyone unless they have a penchant or passion for seeing man’s inhumanity against man.
There is one thing I would definitely recommend however... Christian Henson’s really great score. I feel a definite purchase coming on regarding the music front of this movie. Well worth a listen!