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Black Death (2011)

tomatometer

68

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

Black Death delivers the fire and brimstone violence its subject matter warrants, while posing some interesting questions of faith and religion.

73

Average Rating: 6.1/10
Critic Reviews: 11
Fresh: 8 | Rotten: 3

Black Death delivers the fire and brimstone violence its subject matter warrants, while posing some interesting questions of faith and religion.

audience

49

liked it
Average Rating: 3.2/5
User Ratings: 18,939

My Rating

Movie Info

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. In this apocalyptic environment, the church is losing its grip on the people. There are rumors of a village, hidden in marshland that the plague cannot reach. There is even 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.

May 10, 2011

$22.0k

Magnet Releasing - Official Site External Icon

Watch It Now

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March 11, 2011:
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All Critics (59) | Top Critics (11) | Fresh (40) | Rotten (19) | DVD (2)

"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.

March 12, 2011 Full Review Source: NPR | Comments (2)
NPR
Top Critic IconTop Critic

There's something here for just about everyone, or at least for everyone who looks back fondly on the similarly themed Wicker Man from 1973.

March 11, 2011 Full Review Source: Christian Science Monitor | Comment (1)
Christian Science Monitor
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Slams Christians against pagans with little love for either.

March 11, 2011 Full Review Source: New York Times | Comment (1)
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Though deadly serious, Christopher Smith's European-made bubonic- plague melodrama provides good value with lots of blood and guts, as well as a solid cast.

March 11, 2011 Full Review Source: New York Post | Comment (1)
New York Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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.

March 10, 2011 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times | Comments (2)
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Smith effectively recreates the chaos of the medieval era, where the educated and ignorant alike make life-and-death decisions based on superstition.

March 10, 2011 Full Review Source: AV Club
AV Club
Top Critic IconTop Critic

In Black Death, Christopher Smith effectively creates a creepy and unsettling atmosphere with great production values. He shows lots of potential as a director and I'm looking forward to seeing what he does next.

July 24, 2013 Full Review Source: We Got This Covered
We Got This Covered

Acts as if no one ever thought to make a movie about the bubonic plague before.

June 22, 2013 Full Review Source: Deadspin
Deadspin

It shows the worst things that people do to each other in the name of religion. This could have been more of a thought-provoking film, but it turns into a gore porn display.

February 2, 2012 Full Review Source: Laramie Movie Scope
Laramie Movie Scope

Bean owns this movie.

January 27, 2012 Full Review Source: Cinema Writer
Cinema Writer

An entertaining, if by-the-numbers, entry to the sword-and-shield genre, Black Death features lots of blood, disease, and the seemingly requisite Sean Bean.

January 2, 2012 Full Review Source: Film and Felt
Film and Felt

A film without the ideas or guts to bring hell to life onscreen.

December 18, 2011 Full Review Source: IdentityTheory
IdentityTheory

What could be more cheerful than a graphic bubonic plague picture?

November 18, 2011 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Smith isn't presenting a peace offering so much as a reminder of the ease with which we slip into violence.

October 25, 2011 Full Review Source: Reverse Shot
Reverse Shot

Smith's excellent, tension-building style is complemented by powerful performances from broadsword specialist Bean and Redmayne

August 30, 2011 Full Review Source: The National
The National

Black Death is the feel bad movie of the year, a film with an unrelentingly bleak view of humankind's barbaric nature and the notion that, no matter what your creed, violence only ever begets more violence.

June 21, 2011 Full Review Source: BrandonFibbs.com
BrandonFibbs.com

This movie had a lot of potential, but missed the mark for me, which is almost worse than a film being a complete waste of time.

April 29, 2011 Full Review Source: Movies.com
Movies.com

This film bathes in bloody, brutal ambiguity, intelligently casting both Christians and pagans as murderous creeps in a way that looks back objectively at 14th century ignorance while shining an ugly, knowing light on contemporary religious arrogance, too.

April 4, 2011 Full Review Source: Movies.com | Comment (1)
Movies.com

There are bright spots in this dark-ages movie

March 31, 2011 Full Review Source: Movie Habit
Movie Habit

There's no glory for Black Death's mercenaries at the end of their journey, but for the audience there's a fascinating take on religion and morality that also features some pretty decent swordplay-and really, how much more can a movie offer?

March 29, 2011 Full Review Source: Paste Magazine
Paste Magazine

Sean Bean completists and fans of neck-beards will no doubt enjoy, but overall Black Death an atmospheric but ultimately unaffecting exercise in medieval misery.

March 18, 2011 Full Review Source: CampBlood.org
CampBlood.org

Built on the fascinating premise that God is actually kind of an asshole

March 15, 2011 Full Review Source: Film Freak Central
Film Freak Central

A tedious road trip movie early on turns into a more interesting battle of wills in the second half. Worth a viewing.

March 15, 2011 Full Review Source: Dark Horizons
Dark Horizons

Atmospheric and initially intriguing, but often meandering and ultimately forgettable. It's deficient in enough scares, thrills and palpable tension to keep you thoroughly captivated.

March 12, 2011 Full Review Source: NYC Movie Guru
NYC Movie Guru

It derives horrified fascination from its audience without ever smirking or looking down on us.

March 11, 2011 Full Review Source: Mania.com
Mania.com

Audience Reviews for Black Death

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 religious 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 still looking like 'Boromir' of 'LOTR'. His mates are a dirty ugly bunch all set on pushing the Christian faith through England and that's it. The plot is basically just a gang of warriors on a mission getting taken down one by one, usual affair, but its niche is it being set in the time of the bubonic plague and rather grotty. Last man standing film ritual really, nothing new.

It looks great, you can almost smell the rotting filth in the air and taste the mud the group slowly wades through, all accompanied by that typical eerie chanting you tend to hear in old fashioned Abbeys by monks. The musical score is very spiritual, deep and haunting with an ethereal essence about it, it works very well for the era. 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 probably because its a British/German production, I don't think the Yanks know what the bubonic plague was.
April 19, 2014
phubbs1

Super Reviewer

[img]http://images.rottentomatoes.com/images/user/icons/icon14.gif[/img]
April 14, 2013
Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer

A bleak, gritty and dark take on the middle ages during the time of the Plague. As a group of Christian Knights and mercenaries set out to investigate a village without a sign of the black death together with their young monk guide, they are taking a trip into the heart of darkness. The shaky cam look may be a bit much at times, but you really feel like you're with them and on this dark voyage. The set design is never over the top, but feels realistic and accordingly dirty, which makes for a very unsettling atmosphere. The plot does a pretty decent job in painting those characters with a few significant strokes, the acting is fine, too. But the film's biggest accomplishment is constantly shifting the viewer's allegiance from Christians to Pagans while commenting on the old notion that in order to fight barbarism you have to become a barbarian. The result is never spectacular but very entertaining and enthralling, leaving you with a pretty disconcerting solution. Well done.
March 18, 2013
ironclad1609

Super Reviewer

    1. Hob: She was beautiful...and real.
    2. Wolfstan: *fastening torture restraints* THIS is real.
    – Submitted by Artem L (2 years ago)
    1. Ulric: God's fury rains down on you! God is restored.
    – Submitted by Nick W (2 years ago)
    1. Ulric: I am death. Vengeance is mine!
    – Submitted by Nick W (2 years ago)
    1. Ulric: I am death. Vengeance is mine!
    – Submitted by rob g (3 years ago)
    1. Mold: I am ugly and I am Christian, and that's not a good combination in here...piss off.
    – Submitted by Joe G (3 years ago)
View all quotes (5)

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