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SCREAMFEST REVIEW: BLACK DEATH

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
More SCREAMFEST madness.

More...
post #2 of 8
Nice review. Completely agree with your first line. Any word on this getting a theatrical release?
post #3 of 8
The movie is great and rumored to have been picked up.
post #4 of 8
Good review, Joshua.

I watched it on dvd just a couple of days ago. It's a good entry in the dirt-and-grime medieval genre and managed to surprise me considerably with the direction it eventually took in the last act. I can agree that it may lack some sort of iconic setpiece to satisfy those who went in looking for 90 minutes of Boromir whipping some devil worshipper's ass, but it makes up with thematical depth and unexpected turns in the narrative.

Since it's only been out in Europe I'll blacken out the rest.


Prior to watching the film I had observed how curious it is that, to this day, most portrayals of those years are just as based on superstition as they would've been if they'd been done back then. I mean, I understand you can't disassociate the plague from the crushing religious paranoia that surrounded it, I just find it silly that we can't have a movie on the topic without resorting to demons and necromancers.

Luckily, Black Death manages to do just that. It uses excellently the characters' expectation of devils and witches to keep you waiting along them for the supernatural element to show up...Until you get that there's nothing supernatural going on.

It's also pretty nice, as Joshua mentioned, how amoral the whole thing is. The christian soldiers are deluded assholes driven by fear and superstition, giving some justification to the violence the villagers unleash on them. But man, the pagans go way overboard with their meanness and indulge in the exact same kind of violent bigotry as the christians. But even if they didn't, Sean Bean was anyway unleashing his own brand of chemical warfare on their asses. In the end, god or no god, it's just a fucked up time to be alive and everybody's an asshole.

I have to point out that I would embrace and/or renounce any deity for Carice Van Houten.

Good movie.
post #5 of 8
Black Death was the surprise of Fantasia Fest last summer. Loved it.
post #6 of 8
It should show up on some Best of 2010 lists for sure. I like these smaller, grittier sword movies (also see: Centurion). In the aftermath of LotR this is definitely the way to go for filmmakers who want to play with those settings and images while also maintaining an edge.

And I know Black Death and Centurion aren't fantasy films but there aren't enough true fantasy films nor violent medieval films to be delicate about the difference.
post #7 of 8

Great flick. Watch it, knowing as little as possible. I feel very conflicted and disturbed by the time the credits rolled, like any thematically-good "horror" flick should make you feel.

post #8 of 8

I suppose it was reported here (link doesn't work, so I can't verify), but this is the first I noticed these images by Simon Bisley. Cool stuff...

 

blackdeathalter1.jpg blackdeath-472x700.jpg

 

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