Black Death

"Very Good"

Black Death Review


This medieval thriller is cleverly shot and edited to crank up quite a bit of tension, even as the over-the-top grisliness and wacky religious overtones make it nothing much more than a cheap thrill.

Osmund (Redmayne) is a young monk in 1384 England just as the plague is breaking out. The question is whether it's a curse from God or caused by evil in the world. Then the Bishop's envoy Ulric (Bean) arrives with news that an isolated village is somehow pestilence free. Drafting Osmund as a guide, the team heads off to confront what is no doubt pure evil, and indeed when they arrive they meet the village leader Langiva (van Houten), who has turned her back on the Church and created a creepy idyll.

Filmmaker Smith is terrific at finding humour and humanity in violent situations, and here he relies on his three lead actors to create vivid characters that add a bit of weight to the gore-fest. Redmayne gives Osmund a remarkably introspective personality that actually makes us think he's making some deep moral decisions; Bean is grim and brutish but also reflects some nuance in the situations; and van Houten makes Langiva seductive and suggestive, which is much more interesting than the standard wild-eyed earth mother.

But of course this is essentially an evil village movie, as a band of hapless men stumble right into the middle of a community that seems to have made a pact with the devil. They may be travelling with a wagonload of nasty Inquisition-type implements, but that's nothing compared to what they'll come up against. The result is a lot of shouting, bloodletting and overacting, as Smith layers in sinister effects and eerie music.

There may be some serious themes involved, plus unsubtle War on Terror parallels, but the filmmakers are more interested in playing around with cultural iconography, with disused churches, hooded rituals in the woods and even zombie apparitions to spice things up. The filmmaking itself is first-rate, and Poloni's script isn't afraid to really go for a cold, hard finale. Even if it's ultimately nothing more than a B-movie, it's still gruesome good fun.



Black Death

Facts and Figures

Genre: Horror/Suspense

Run time: 102 mins

In Theaters: Friday 11th June 2010

Box Office USA: $22.0k

Box Office Worldwide: $242.8 thousand

Distributed by: Magnet Releasing

Production compaines: Egoli Tossell Film AG, The Post Republic, Ecosse Films, Zephyr Films, HanWay Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 68%
Fresh: 40 Rotten: 19

IMDB: 6.4 / 10

Cast & Crew

Producer: Robert Bernstein, , , Phil Robertson

Starring: as Ulric, as Osmund, as Langiva, as Averill, as Wolfstan, as Hob, as Dalywag, Daniel Steiner as Monk, as Abbot, Tobias Kasimirowicz as Grimbold, as Swire, as Ivo, Jamie Ballard as Griff, Keith Dunphy as Witch Finder, Marianne Graffam as Suspected Witch, Ines Marie Westernströer as Bel

Also starring: ,

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

X-Men: Apocalypse Movie Review

X-Men: Apocalypse Movie Review

This closing chapter of the First Class trilogy falls into the same trap as The...

Sing Street Movie Review

Sing Street Movie Review

A buoyant celebration of the power of music, this is the third blissfully entertaining musical...

Departure Movie Review

Departure Movie Review

Complex, dark and very moving, this British drama never makes things easy for the audience,...

Everybody Wants Some!! Movie Review

Everybody Wants Some!! Movie Review

Richard Linklater loosely follows on from two of his most acclaimed films with this lively...

Our Kind of Traitor Movie Review

Our Kind of Traitor Movie Review

John le Carre's novel is adapted with plenty of inventive style into a remarkably personal...

The Angry Birds Movie Movie Review

The Angry Birds Movie Movie Review

There's nothing particularly memorable about this frantic animated romp, which adapts the iconic phone-app game...

Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising [Bad Neighbours 2] Movie Review

Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising [Bad Neighbours 2] Movie Review

While it's amusing and sometimes very funny, there's an air of desperation about this sequel...

Advertisement
Florence Foster Jenkins Movie Review

Florence Foster Jenkins Movie Review

Although this comedy-drama seems to have been written specifically to give Meryl Streep a chance...

I Saw the Light Movie Review

I Saw the Light Movie Review

Writer-director Marc Abraham gets ambitious with this biopic about iconic country music star Hank Williams,...

Captain America: Civil War Movie Review

Captain America: Civil War Movie Review

After the formulaic thrills of The Winter Soldier and Age of Ultron, Marvel's Avengers were...

Son of Saul Movie Review

Son of Saul Movie Review

From Hungary, this year's Oscar-winning foreign film is a remarkably fresh take on the Holocaust...

Demolition Movie Review

Demolition Movie Review

With its darkly emotive themes and brittle humour, this well-made drama by Jean-Marc Vallee (Dallas...

Bastille Day Movie Review

Bastille Day Movie Review

An attempt to muscle in on Luc Besson's Taken-style of thriller, this is an odd...

Secret Cinema Presents: 28 Days Later Movie Review

Secret Cinema Presents: 28 Days Later Movie Review

Expectations are a problem with this year's Secret Cinema event. After the jaw-dropping, goosebump-inducing surprises...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.