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Black Death

  R HD Closed Captioning

Christopher Smith

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Plot Summary

The year is 1348. Europe has fallen under the shadow of the Black Death. As the plague decimates all in its path, fear and superstition are rife. There are rumors of a village hidden in marshland that the plague cannot reach. There is talk of a necromancer who leads the village and is able to bring the dead back to life. Ulric (Sean Bean), a fearsome knight, is charged by the church to investigate these rumors. Joined by a young monk and a small cohort of soldiers, the journey ahead will lead them into the heart of darkness where faith is challenged and put to the ultimate test.


Rotten Tomatoes Movie Reviews


  • Reviews Counted: 59
  • Fresh: 40
  • Rotten: 19
  • Average Rating: 6.2/10

Top Critics' Reviews

Fresh: Slams Christians against pagans with little love for either. – Jeannette Catsoulis, New York Times, Mar 11, 2011

Rotten: Early on "Black Death" falls victim to its own sluggish sickness, its narrative drive proving no match for the aggressively rotted pallor, dour acting and tiresomely handheld you-are-there aesthetics. – Robert Abele, Los Angeles Times, Mar 10, 2011

Fresh: The movie's real coup is in how it repeatedly shifts our allegiance from Christians to pagans, interrogating the unfathomably still-popular notion that barbarism is best countered with more of the same. – Mark Holcomb, Village Voice, Mar 8, 2011

Fresh: "Going medieval" on your enemies isn't just a figure of speech in Christopher Smith's stylish spatter-horror exercise, which uses desperation-fueled religious fervor to interrogate the intersection of fear and faith. – Ian Buckwalter, NPR, Mar 12, 2011

Read More About This Movie On Rotten Tomatoes

Customer Reviews

Intense and visceral

A period of time I don't recall being covered much in modern cinema. This film has a very simple plot and story but the setting and the simplicity helped me get fully immersed in the tale. It is a coming of age tale at it's heart. I going to give it a second viewing before the rental time runs out. Also, it's brutal but not too brutal that it's unwatchable. The story also centers around religious faith in God. Enjoy.

You Cheeky Buggers You!

No sleep last night, so I'll keep this short, sweet, any other s-words that are apropos (yes, pretentious diction, I agree, but I'm friggin' exhausted--SO BACK OFF!). The film starts slowly (for the first 5-10 minutes), and the opening is redolent of the scene in For Your Consideration when the director demands Superbowl stadium lighting against the cinematographer's wishes, which most people won't find annoying, but I do because: 1) Hello! it's the Black Plague--MAKE THE FILM DARK, MR. DIRECTOR--seriously, and 2) I expect perfection from people given the brilliant opportunity (and financing) to create for a mass audience. Once the journey began, I found myself lost in the story--so much so that I only reconnected to reality 20-30 minutes in when I realized, "Hey, I'm enjoying this." Sean Bean is starting to win me over; he's got some talent and really seemed committed in this role. There's lots of blood, violence, wenches, some witch burning, some necromancy... basically all the fun stuff we missed out on by being born 100's of years too late. I wouldn't say it's worth $10, but if you're the type to throw away money frivolously, then rest assured you will find some merit in your investment. And now to nap the sweet nap of pure exhaustion and... I could really go for a Japanese girlfriend. Anyone know where I can get a Japanese girlfriend? Someone Hello-Kitty caliber cute, e.g., Kikuchi Rinko. Hey, Sean Bean, if you read this, have your agent call her agent, then have her agent call my nonexistent agent, and we'll set up a tea date--Japanese green! Most impossible tea ever to brew correctly! Why? Nobody knows.

Your faith or lack of faith will decide

I was really discouraged by the negative reviews here but decided to take the plunge on this pricey rental and decide for myself. I am very glad I did just that.
I really believe this film puts the actions of man in the name of faith (or lack thereof) to question, rather than the beliefs themselves. Both sides are portrayed rather darkly for the bulk of the film, yet righteous (in a good way) at times, I believe, to reinforce the message that no matter what our faith is, our actions define us. The filmakers succeed in stimulating the mind on the subject of faith through acts of brutality, uncertainty, contempt and revenge. I feel this was a great change of pace among films that tackle the always fragile subject of faith.

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