The bubonic plague is laying waste to Middle Ages England but one village remains oddly unscathed.
It must be the work of devilry and witchcraft. Sean Bean's savage Christian soldiers certainly think so, and they plan to hunt down the demonic "necromancer" (Carice van Houten) responsible, with the help of their young guide, Osmund (Eddie Redmayne), a novice monk plucked from David Warner's monastery. The wonderful Warner tells Osmund that this quest will "change you". He should have been clearer. Cue medieval torture scenes, hacking of flesh, evisceration, pagan/religious rantings and Carice van Houten floating about like an extra from a Clannad video. It is to Christopher Smith's considerable credit that this ripe tale doesn't descend into Monty Python-like silliness ("bring out your dead" etc), and that the grisly atmosphere is maintained throughout the film.