Egon Endrenyi
Owen Gleiberman
January 12, 2011 AT 05:00 AM EST

By now, there are whole genres of bad Nicolas Cage movies — bad action flicks, bad apocalyptic thrillers, bad franchise comic-book capers — and now Season of the Witch seems to invent a new one: the bad wisecracking medieval demonic-possession movie. It’s got videogame-from-hell F/X, plus jousting, plus Cage in tangled long hair he seems to have mistakenly put in the washing machine.

In the 14th century, Cage and Ron Perlman play heroes of the Crusades-turned-cynical deserters who wind up shepherding a young woman who may be a witch to the abbey where she’s set to stand trial. The worst thing about Season of the Witch is that it’s a wagon-wheeled road movie, listless and meandering. The best thing about it is Claire Foy’s performance as the seething, caged is-she-a-witch?. Foy, like a Brit Kristen Stewart, has an entrancing sparkle of disdain.

The special effects come mostly at the end, which makes them feel like a payoff for sitting through the film. You’ve seen it all before, of course, in movies from Clash of the Titans to Legend. In Hollywood, the onslaught of flashy CGI ghoulies knows no season. C

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