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Black Death - 9/6/2010 10:11:43 AM   
Empire Admin


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Post #: 1
RE: Black Death - 9/6/2010 3:15:27 PM   

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I was preying this would get good reviews! Sean Bean has a habbit of having bit parts where he gets killed half way through! After watching the trailer it looked quite promising.

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Post #: 2
Borrowing Boromir - 9/6/2010 3:49:13 PM   

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The problem here is the total and utter resemblance to Boromir which acts as a distraction imho. A bit like when Ricky Gervais does something, it's basically a retread of David Brent's character and mannerisms. Hell he even looks like Boromir, but with clobber from the medieval version of Primark.

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Post #: 3
Grim and nasty! - 9/6/2010 8:40:52 PM   


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Wonderful last act! I quite enjoyed this movie, creepy, atmospheric, had an air of menace to it. You kept expecting something violent to happen... and it does!

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Post #: 4
Another review Dan Jolin got wrong!!!!!! - 10/6/2010 10:41:35 AM   


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Empire is the only bad review I have read for this film but I was not surprised when I realised that the same critic who gave Black Death a two star also gave Taken a one star and Robin Hood a four star?????????

I think that says it all!

Black Death is without doubt one of the best horrors of the year. Read the Timeout Review, The Variety Review, The Frightfest review etc etc, they all understand what Dan Jolin has totally misunderstood.

Are we supposed to sympathize with the villagers or the men, that's pretty much the whole point of the film.

Stick to writing glossy features for the studios, cause you ain't no critic.

< Message edited by jonnyjay -- 10/6/2010 10:44:48 AM >

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Great Film!!!! - 10/6/2010 10:50:51 AM   


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I don't get this review

< Message edited by jonnyjay -- 10/6/2010 10:53:06 AM >

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Post #: 6
Re Black Death - 10/6/2010 2:34:59 PM   


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Don't be put off by Empire's review. As has been pointed out, they are among barely a handful of poor reviews in a sea of great ones. I saw this at a free screening in London a couple of weeks ago and loved it. It can't really be put into any specific category. It is not a conventional horror film but it is dark and violent and beautiful to look at. It also makes you think and touches on religious fundamentalism and superstitious fear, both subjects relevant today. Sean Bean and Eddie Redmayne are excellent as are all the cast and the music is great. Give it a go!

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Post #: 7
RE: Re Black Death - 13/6/2010 10:15:35 PM   
Dr Lenera


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The latest offering from the talented Christopher Smith, isn't perhaps quite as impressive as his last movie Triangle, but it's still a fairly unusual medieval drama which is admittedly not too promising at first.  It appears to be kind of a Middle Ages men-on-a-mission movie, and despite the setting, a convincingly grubby and probably realistic vision of the period, it's not too involving and perhaps a little too draggy for the type of movie it seems to be.  Things don't really improve with a battle scene that's extremely brutal, with lots of weapons put to graphic use, but is almost entirely ruined by the obligatory sick making cutting and camera work that seem to be constantly used at the moment.  However once the characters reach their destination ,a mysterious village, it becomes much more effective, obviously informed by The Wicker Man, but extremely eerie and suspenseful, and for once I didn't have a clue how it would progress except that it would be very brutal and I was right.  Things really do get intense and nasty  [even though some of the worst things, such a quartering by four horses, are not in that much detail the 15 certificate is questionable] and by the end may leave a bad taste in the mouth, however that's the point, and you're also asked to work out for yourself a lot of things.  The performances are all fine though Sean Bean just comes across as Boromir again and I'll probably remember the stunning and slightly scary presence of Carice Van Outen as the Necromancer more than anyone else.  With echoes of many films including Mark Of The Devil and even some Italian cannibal movies [without the extreme gore and cannibalism but you're see what I mean!], this stunningly photographed effort is nowhere near perfect but should be pretty rewarding if you sit through the average first third.


check out more of my reviews on

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Post #: 8
RE: Black Death - 14/6/2010 9:58:22 AM   

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From: Bristol
Started well with plague, witch burnings and heresy and then descends into a confusing faith vs fake witchcraft and how people are better off without faith....or are they? I don't know, it was very muddled towards the end.

All I know is I was expecting Sean Bean's Ulric to be much more of a raving fundamentalist then he was.



"I put no stock in religion. By the word 'religion', I have seen the lunacy of fanatics of every denomination be called 'The Will of God'. Holiness is in right action and courage on behalf of those who cannot defend themselves."

Twitter: @timonsingh

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Post #: 9
RE: Black Death - 14/6/2010 12:15:39 PM   


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i not read this review can you post it here,so that i read it. GenFX

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Post #: 10
RE: Black Death - 14/6/2010 4:01:19 PM   

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A mixed bag of reviews online, the public seem to like it so far. I'm not sure if this is going to be one for the cinema or tv!

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Post #: 11
Dan Jolin has another shocker - 14/6/2010 8:03:14 PM   


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I've been a reader of Empire for a very long time now but of late I've become a little disappointed by too many review like this one. Dan Jolin chooses to make silly comparative lists based on superficial similarities and misses similarities to the Godfather, Aguirre Wrath of God and The Deerhunter. It's not a perfect film but surely the great performances by Johnny Harris and John Lynch are worth mentioning? Jolin's isn't a review, it's a smug self congratulatory excuse to make snide little jokes and the problem is Empire seems to be full of them.

Reviewers (doesn't deserve the term 'critic') like Dan Jolin seem confused by films when they don't have a big marketing campaing to base an opinion on or the promise of a big feature/interview.

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Post #: 12
Better than you think Empire - 14/6/2010 10:27:28 PM   


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I agree with the last post, Dan Jolin isn't reviewing the film he's making rubbish comparisons because he doesn't have anything better to say. I've not liked any of the other films by this director apart from thinking they all look well made but this really is a good film. The cast is excellent, it's shot beautifully and the final Godfather style end is a real shock. Empire does seem to have an agenda that involves praising big money populist crap and saving bitchy comments for films that they can't use to promote the magazine.

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Post #: 13
Dark, gritty and sinister, not one to miss! - 15/6/2010 12:20:02 AM   


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Rarely do i bring myself to write a review, generally because i tend to agree with the general consensus. But in this case Dan Jolin's review is so off the mark it is unreal. I went in to see the film on saturday after reading some pretty dire reviews and came out wondering if i had actually seen the same film. Its very dark and gritty in a "In the name of the rose" vain, well acted especially from redmayne and tells a compelling story which i certainly felt kept me bolted to the seat to the end. What annoys me more is the fact that independant films like this which have a hard enough time getting screen time as it is over some shoddy hollywood shite are being done a dis-service by these supposed critics. Anyone unsure about this film should have a little faith and go see it yourself to make your own mind up.

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Post #: 14
Totally under-rated and mis-marketed, much more thought... - 15/6/2010 3:02:28 PM   
TKK Silvergun


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I really enjoyed this film, and haven't been hugely impressed by Smith's previous work (Severance was OK but Creep and Triangle annoyed the hell out of me). It's definitely borrowed ideas from other films (Blood On Satan's Claw as well as those mentioned above) but I thought it looked and sounded totally stunning, the acting was great, it had interesting situations and ideas and kept me guessing and thinking right to the end. It's more like The Proposition or Aussie prisoners-turn-cannibal grim-fest Van Diemen's Land than any recent hack'n'slash film - there's hardly any action and only a sprinkling of (admittedly brutal) violence. Definitely worth a look if you're up for some imaginative, serious-minded British film-making.

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Post #: 15
Dan Jolin is wrong - 15/6/2010 9:59:39 PM   


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Went to see this last night, didn't expect much based on Severance but that could be me hating Danny Dyer more than anything else. It's a great film, I can't remember enjoying such a great group of actors in one film. I really got an understanding of each character's motivation for doing what they do. Yes the main character is weak jawed and wet but this is surely to contrast with Ulric's grit and misguided way.
I think Dan Jolin needs to go back to reviwer school because he really is missing the point too often. Let him just do Iron Man and Harry Potters, stuff he doesn't need to think about too hard.

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Post #: 16
IT'S WORTH A LOOK...... - 19/6/2010 12:35:59 PM   


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The only really negative aspect about this film was that I had to drag my lazy carcass down to London to see it as it wasn't showing locally - other than that I kind of liked it. Plenty of religious references and the dark, grubby, murky atmosphere of the first half gives way to a strange Wickerman/Witchfinder General climax that kept me watching. Wasn't quite sure how this was all going to end and that's what I enjoyed about it. Sean Bean is always good value for money and the rest of the no name cast perform admirably. Ten times better than that Clash of the Titans crap. Three stars.

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Post #: 17
Pitch black, spot on - 10/7/2010 4:40:25 PM   

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Fantastic movie, gripping from start to finish. One of the best of the year. Challenges lots of perceptions, religion in particular gets it in the teeth. Brilliantly cast, and a real welcome black sense of humour in parts. SPOILOR ALERT: would be 5 stars, except the Black Book actress didn't get nakeded. Dan Jolin go back to the f$cking valley, man...

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Post #: 18
The Empires revier - 12/8/2010 10:01:17 AM   


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Come on please, this film isnt a world wide hit but it does have some origionality and to top it off this film also great scenery, I myself do not beleive that this film was rated worser than valhalla rising!!?? feck me im a movie buff give me a film an ill look into all aspects of everyones films like then decide if its good not just my own................. rather than read about some critic that dont like rom coms or thrillers or etc etc etc which is what seems to be happening right now in the empire magazine company :@/ but dont let that distract you im sure ur happy with the ratings x heh

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Post #: 19
Grim But Very Good. - 3/10/2010 9:30:54 AM   
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From: Bexhill
I'm surprised that Empire didn't like Black Death. I watched it last night, I may not be a expert as a film critic but I found this film better than some other films that are so overhyped. A grim outlook, good pefomances and excellent scenery it's a movie to check out without doubt.

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Post #: 20
Grim But Very Good. - 3/10/2010 9:30:55 AM   
joanna likes films


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From: Bexhill
I'm surprised that Empire didn't like Black Death. I watched it last night, I may not be a expert as a film critic but I found this film better than some other films that are so overhyped. A grim outlook, good pefomances and excellent scenery it's a movie to check out without doubt.

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Post #: 21
A Plague Upon You! - 26/10/2010 8:23:03 AM   


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And so it came to pass in the year of our lord 2010 that the readers of 'Empire' took issue with the great god that is the film critic and declared him a heretic! Have to agree with the readers - a superbly recreated medieval England and an intelligent script that highlights (but doesn't preach) the dangers of religious extremism.

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Post #: 22
- 17/12/2010 4:10:50 PM   


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Post #: 23
It died a Death - 5/1/2011 11:49:37 AM   
Boromirs Redemption


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I was quite looking forward to this, like I was with the other historical romp of 2010 Centurion. As it was, I was left feeling slightly disappointed. Sometimes, low-budget films are exposed to the full glare of the limelight and shown up for what they are- disapoointing. This is one of them. I like Sean Bean- one of my favourite actors- but he is given very little to work with here. The script is cliche-ridden and as a result it makes the film stutter. i'm not sure about McInnery's character either; he seems far to camp to be a sadistic witch helper. The fight scenes are like the enjoyability level of the film- nasty brutish and short. I was left underwhelmed by this despite much promise.

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Post #: 24
Deserves More - 11/1/2011 1:37:29 PM   

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From: the edges of your peripheral vision
I'm a quite a fan of medieval movies as a sub genre and thought that this was certainly one of the better ones I've seen - generally it's getting good responses from people here and over at some of the meta-review sites.

If you have to choose between this and 'Season of the witch' choose this for sure - gritty, good story, plays with ideas of belief, faith and credulity in what I thought was an very interesting way. Underated by the Empire reviewer.

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Post #: 25
UNDERATED - 10/2/2011 10:39:09 AM   


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A very enjoyable film that I feel has been unfairly scuppered by the reviewer. Is there any way the star rating can be changed? Googling other reviews online shows the film was received well by others, i.e. the Guardian (4*) Telegraph (4*) Time Out (4*). 3 stars would be fair, but two?? That's ridiculous, it puts this film on par with Battlefield Earth and that is deeply, deeply unfair. Clearly a Dan Jolin hatchet job. Empire sort it out. Everyone else, watch the film and judge for yourself.

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Post #: 26
Black Death - 11/11/2011 4:11:04 PM   


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Saw this the other week and found it very choppy, especially the first half. I also found myself pulled out of the film a few times when characters seemed to speak with modern day dialogue.

My biggest gripe however was the relish the filmmakers seemed to take towards the violence. I understand violence and brutality was common during this time period but it felt like the director and editor were more interested in getting to the killing and torture over everything else, leaving no time to empathise with the very characters that are getting killed and tortured.

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Post #: 27
Two stars - you kidding? - 28/11/2011 11:54:54 PM   
Big Braveheart


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The reviewer got this one wrong as Black Death is a great little horror film about witchhunting and is suitable very grim, bleak and quite a haunting film. Sean Bean is the lead star but Eddie Redmayne & John Lynch were both great in this and this film can hold it's head up high alongside Witchfinder General as a twisty, unusual film with good acting, a super script and Christopher Smith is fast becoming a director to look out for who gets better with every film. Christian Henson's score was brilliant too and Tim McInnery & Carice Van Houten also lend great support and Andy Nyman throws in a few good lines to amuse you too. Good film!!

< Message edited by Big Braveheart -- 28/11/2011 11:56:04 PM >

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Post #: 28
Black Death - 1/12/2011 11:01:23 AM   

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From: Scotland
I disagree with your 2 star rating. This is in my Top 10 Films ever and it features one of my favourite actors, Sean Bean. The movie is set during the Plague in England. It is an interesting topic to make a film out of and what we get is a horrific story of warriors searching for the necromancer to end the plague. A young monk takes them, only because he is looking for his girlfriend who he sent away from the plague's wrath.

There is a great fight scene in the forest, resulting in bloodshed & deaths, almost something akin to Lord of the Rings, which I usually compare Black Death to due to the similarities in warriors & demons. Not as good as LOTR but still it is a great film with horrific death scenes & a thrilling ending.

Sean Bean's character is Ulric, very similar to Sean's character in LOTR, Boromir. A master swordsman who kills anything evil, Sean's portrayal s fantastic, which is the reason he is one of my favourite actors. The role of Ulric is perfect for him & I can't imagine anyone else perfecting the role as well as Sean.

Eddie Redmayne played Osmund, the monk who goes with the men to seemingly show the way to the village where the necromancer is, but is really only going to find his girlfriend Averill. It is nice that there is a bit of romance which is a major part of the story as Averill is presumed dead until we see a startling scene at the end. Eddie plays the monk very well, playing fear & anger feelings very well.

The settings are fantastic to watch, from the monastery, to the forests to the village where the movie takes a different turn. The scene with the village & the goings-on were something I never expected, partly the reason why I love this movie. It is an unexpecting thrill-ride with plenty of action & brilliant acting by all, including Carice van Houten, Kimberley Nixon & Tim McInnerny

I definitely recommend Black Death to anyone who is a fan of Sean Bean and/or medieval horror films. Great

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Post #: 29
RE: Black Death - 1/8/2012 4:39:34 AM   

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Black Death (2010)

Totally bleak and very realistic, this historical story set in the time of the bubonic plague which really is quite depressing. The plot is of course religion based and see's a group of warriors and a young monk off to a small village untouched by plague. The reason? because they think a witch is there and keeping the plague out, which would seem beneficial really but that's not Christian damn it.

Sean Bean heads a good character driven cast (including Tim McInnerny of 'Blackadder' fame) despite looking like Boromir of 'LOTR', his mates are a dirty ugly bunch all set on pushing the Christain faith through England. The plot is basically just a gang of warriors on a mission getting taken down one by one, usual affair, but its set in the time of the bubonic plague and rather grotty hehe.
It looks great, you can almost smell the filth and taste the mud the group slowly wades through, accompanied by some haunting chanting in the musical score. Its just a shame the ending gets a little bit silly and kinda 'Wicker Man-ish', still its a good film that has gone under the radar.

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Post #: 30
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