Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Who's afraid of the big bad plague?


Well, I figured I'd start things off with a movie I only just watched recently called, obviously, Black Death. This is the first sword-wielding days of yore type flick I've watched since my fellow cohort Mr. Boonsweet and I had an 80's sword and sorcery weekend. Which was awesome by the way, I recommend you all do the same. But I digress, let's get on with the review.

We begin with a brief inner monologue by novice monk Osmund (played by Eddie Redmayne), who muses about whether the plague came from God or the devil. It then cuts to some of the plague's handiwork, with the dead and dying laying out in the streets, and even a dead priest. Realizing that not even the church is safe from the disease, Osmund goes to his secret love Averill (played by Kimberley Nixon) and forces her to leave for her own safety. He then prays for a sign of what he will do next. And boy does he get one, in the form of Sean Bean!!

Bean plays Boromi....I mean Lord Sta......I mean Ulrich, a knight of the Church, who upon hearing of a village seemingly immune to the plague, plans to investigate the rumors for himself. Osmund, having knowledge of the area, volunteers to guide Ulrich and his men there. On the way he learns the true reason of the visit: the village is possibly under the control of a demon and a necromancer. Sounds pretty awesome, but I learned that you can't always expect awesome looking monsters just because people say it's there.

The journey meets with a few stops; Ulrich stopping to grant a mercy kill to a suspected witch, and having to put down one of his own men after learning that he caught the plague. They later set up camp, conveniently near an area of the forest where Osmund agreed to meet with Averill. Instead of Averill, he runs into a band of savage woodland bandits, which proceeds to enter into an all out melee between the two groups. This fight utilizes a somewhat popular camera style that's been seen a lot nowadays....

THE DAMN SHAKY CAM STYLE!!!! I hate when directors decide to inject pure caffeine and speed into the cameraman whenever a fight scene is shot. It doesn't make the fight more exciting, it annoys me and makes me want to not watch. I can understand the "found footage" movies, as they are shot on a video camera you'd realistically expect the camera to be shaky, especially when running away from something. But in a movie like Black Death, it's completely unnecessary, and takes me out of the movie. Whew, sorry about that. Moving on...

So after a little more travel, they make it to the village. And, to their surprise, the people in the village seem quite friendly and innocent, offering food and shelter to Ulrich's party. Of course, in my paranoid mind, alarm bells would sound off with their level of hospitality. And as you'd expect, the true character of the villagers shows itself.

I have read a lot of debating on internet forums as to whether or not their really was a demon in that village. As we didn't actually see a stereotypical ugly, horned, red-skinned variety, it isn't certain. With that in mind, I am actually going to stop my review here, and encourage those of you who haven't seen this movie to do so, and form your own opinion and debate with others who have seen it. And if any of you reading this have already done so, feel free to comment with your own opinions on the movie.

Movie scale: 3.5/5 stars
Horror scale: 2.5/5 stars

-Your friendly neighbourhood Bucklesworth.

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