Who's In It: Nicolas Cage, Ron Perlman, Claire Foy, Christopher Lee
The Basics: Alpha-warrior Cage, tired of killing innocent people for the Church in the never-ending Crusades, has lost his faith. All he wants to do is go home to live his life in peace, but when he gets there he discovers that the Black Plague has eaten everyone's face alive. And the villagers think a young witch is responsible. The local dying Cardinal forces Cage to transport her back to a far-away abbey where they can try her for dark crimes. Also, sweetening the deal, she sort of is a real witch, possibly worse, which makes it all feel like an occult remake of Get Him To The Greek.
What's The Deal: This really entertaining bad movie seems to owe its existence to weed, role-playing games, black metal videos, exorcism chic and Nicolas Cage's ability to pick B-movie projects with just the right amount of stone-faced stupidity choking away any attempts at quality or good taste. It's what we've come to expect and love about his weirdo career and he continues not to disappoint. He's even generous with the greatness by not needing to be the one to deliver the movie's best stolen-right-from-Jaws line: "We're gonna need more holy water." A totally secondary guy says it. Anti-Oscar-movie people, this one is for you.
Roll Call of Good Stuff: A smirking teen witch, packs of flying death-wolves, re-animated plague corpses with gooey oozing makeup, the erotic licking of blood from hands, demon-possessed zombie-monks whose battle readiness is not slowed down one bit by the reading of holy scripture, cheap visuals and a lazy disregard for dialogue consistency that involves half the cast speaking like a junior high school show-and-tell project about the Middle Ages and the other half using contemporary profanity and saying things like, "Guy who kills the most infidels buys the drinks tonight." So, yeah. Kind of great.
Be On The Look Out For: Christopher Lee, unrecognizable in tumor-ridden plague make-up, as the Cardinal. All the better to pretend he was never there.
Waiting Patiently For: The DVD and whatever commentary it provides. And while I don't anticipate Cage ever fessing up to this sort of thing, I would like to imagine that there was an initial table read of the script where he gave notes back about how it's cool that he gets to be in a third act showdown with a girl possessed by the devil as well as with a vicious gang of zombie monks, but that he would also like to be the one who gets to have an ultimate fighting championship with Actual Satan. And then it was willed into existence to please him. And if he'd been really on his game he would have requested the opportunity to sing the Donovan song of the same name over the closing credits, just like Kevin Costner did when he performed a duet with Amy Grant at the end of The Postman.