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Black Death

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Black Death

Sponsored by: Ztélé

North american Premiere

  • U.K. 2010
  • 102 min
  • 35mm
  • English
Hosted by director Christopher Smith and producer Philip Robertson


HorrorAction / Adventure

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“Hauntingly brilliant” 

“A savvy, stylish horror-actioner that’s more than the sum of its genre parts” 
— Leslie Felperin, VARIETY

"A frightening journey into the social fabric of evil, pathological cruelty and supernatural possibility... One of the most powerful films made about God, the godless and what the Devil truly represents." - Alan Jones, FRIGHTFEST


Director: Christopher Smith
Screenplay: Dario Poloni
Cast: Sean Bean, Carice van Houten, Eddie Redmayne, David Warner, Kimberley Nixon
Producers: Robert Bernstein, Jens Meurer, Douglas Rae, Phil Robertson
Print Source: HanWay Films

Part of...

Between Death and the Devil   

Between Death and the Devil



Medieval England is dying, infected en masse with the first wave of bubonic plague. A fearful monastery dispatches young monk Osmund (Eddie Redmayne) to lead a witch-hunting knight (a chillingly cruel Sean Bean) and his mercenaries on a journey to a remote marsh that somehow, against all reason, has been left completely untouched by the plague. Necromancy is suspected. They arrive, and are taken in as friends by what they quickly realize is an openly pagan village. As they infiltrate the community they fully intend on destroying, terrible truths are revealed. Nothing is what it seems. And God will save no one.

With such films as SEVERANCE, CREEP and TRIANGLE (shamefully abandoned to direct-to-video oblivion—seek it out, it’s phenomenal), Christopher Smith has built quite the reputation as one of Britain’s leading up-and-comers of the fantastic. Smart and utterly frightening, BLACK DEATH takes this always-interesting filmmaker to a whole other level. In ways, it’s a partial descendant of one of the greatest U.K. horror films ever made, THE DEVILS (which in a black twist of fate is also screening in this year’s fest), a work with which it shares numerous disturbing themes, alongside the also-British WITCHFINDER GENERAL. Riveting and gasp-inducingly violent, brought to life with a solid cast that includes David Warner and Carice van Houten, BLACK DEATH is an atmospheric nightmare shrieking with horrors both physical and philosophical. It’s a fascinating morality play that frequently shifts concepts of right and wrong as good characters do inexcusable things, bad characters do good, acts of violence are at once justifiable and indefensible, and ideals give way to instinct, then back again. You will regularly be shifting allegiances with characters you think you like or loathe, and once situations spiral out into full-on fury, you’ll barely know which way is up. And that’s when the blood really begins to flow. Smith’s dependably intelligent directorial flair gives the film an earthy, personal feel, making the hellish proceedings all the more compelling. Easily one of the best horror films of this year, BLACK DEATH will corrupt your senses and leave you trembling in darkness, contemplating the true nature of evil with blood in your eyes.

—Mitch Davis

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