As the Black Death sweeps through Medieval England, young monk Osmund (Eddie Redmayne) sends his girlfriend, Averill (Kimberley Nixon), to the safety of the remote forest while he remains at the monastery to serve God. Shortly thereafter, Ulric (Sean Bean) and his fierce band of Christian crusaders show up seeking a guide to help them locate an isolated village that is said to be untouched by the Black Plague. Convinced that this may be his one opportunity to reunite with Averill and serve a higher power at the same time, Osmund volunteers. Later, as the group departs, Osmund learns that their mission has much darker implications. Rumors persist that within the village dwells a necromancer with the power to bring the dead back to life; their true goal is to take the sorcerer back to the bishop for confession, trial, and execution. Under the leadership of the deeply reverent Ulric, the group forges ever deeper into the blighted countryside, encountering madness, unrest, and unspeakable suffering along the way. Later, when the seekers finally arrive at their remote destination, they quickly find that the fantastical rumors seem rooted in fact -- not a single one of the villagers shows signs of infection, food remains plentiful, and spirits there are high. When mysterious village matriarch Langiva (Carice van Houten) reveals that survival does not come without sacrifice, however, Osmund realizes that his dark journey has only just begun. John Lynch and Tim McInnerny star in this shocking period horror film from director Christopher Smith (Severance, Creep) and writer Dario Poloni (Wilderness).~Jason Buchanan
Black Death is a very proper title for this film. Few films can equal the dark world this film takes place in, and unlike horror films which feature killers such as Freddie Kruger or alien monstrosities, the true horror of this film is that it is rooted in fact rather than fiction.
I never watch thrillers or horror films, but if I do, it is to remind me of why I do not watch them. After viewing the trailer for this film, I was torn. On one hand, it could be a cold blooded thriller, but on the other, it could be a good, dark film. It turns out to be the latter. While it is very gruesome, it points out that the most horrible atrocities are not seen on the silver screen committed by fictional characters or monsters, but rather found in history committed by very real people. If we truly want to scare ourselves, we need not delve into an imaginary world, but rather the world around us.
As alluded to by its title, the film takes place in Fourteenth-century England during the Black Plague. The Black Plague killed roughly half of the people in Europe at the time. No human can say that this is not a horrific event, but I believe the acts of the people at the time to be even more horrific. This is the dark Middle Age we all know, but may not realize how truly dark it was. Women were commonly accused of being witches and burned at the stake, and those who opposed the church were tortured and killed. This is the plot of the film. A group of soldiers are sent by the church to investigate a small town for two reasons, to discover why they do not suffer from the Black Plague, and also to search out any heretics of the church and bring them back for torture. The Middle Age was a horrific time period to live in with just the Plague alone, but with the ignorant “educated” people, it became an unimaginable nightmarish world by today's standards. The film displays the ignorance of humanity by showing that both factions in the film are so blinded by their stubbornness that neither side can live in peace.
This is only the primary theme of the film as I see it, and there are others hidden within it. If you have the stomach for it, you must see this film.