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‘Black Death’ a dark experience

The British film “Black Death” is definitely about the ravages of the bubonic plague on 14th century Europe, but the name also applies to some other aspects of this effectively grim immorality tale.

From its dank look to the bone-ripping violence and the ultimate lack of good in almost everyone, the film lives up to its title in more ways than one.

Eddie Redmayne is Osmund, a young monk who gets swept up in a mini-Crusade of sorts. A band of warriors, led by Ulric (Sean Bean), has been sent by a local bishop to a remote village rumored to have been spared the plague because its citizens have made some sort of pact with the underworld.

Their mission: Bring back the village leader to meet a fate at the hands of Christian inquisitors.

Director Christopher Smith and screenwriter Dario Poloni deal deftly in dread and suspicion, creating a dark, tense atmosphere that occasionally explodes in limb-hewing violence.

Smith’s style brings to mind the work of one of his English contemporaries, Neil Marshall, whose “The Descent” comes close to being a classic of contemporary terror.

What are they putting in the water in the UK these days?

“Black Death” is playing at the Magic Lantern Theatre.