The Wicker Man (2006)

wicker man poster 2006 movie
2.0 Overall Score
Story: 3/10
Acting: 1/10
Visuals: 2/10

Story is still interesting

Interesting story is wasted by horrible acting and moderizing

 
Movie Info

Movie Name:  The Wicker Man

Studio:  Alcon Entertainment

Genre(s):  Horror/Mystery/Suspense

Release Date(s):  September 1, 2006

MPAA Rating:  PG-13

 

wicker-man-2006-animal-costumes

Animal weirdness…

Edward Malus (Nicolas Cage) is an officer who has lost his direction after an accident killed a child in front of him.  When he is contacted by his former lover Willow (Kate Beahan) to find their missing daughter Rowan (Erika Shaye Gair), Malus travels to the isolated island of Summersisle where their primary source of income is honey and harvest.  As Malus tries to uncover the mystery of Rowan’s disappearance, he encounters the island’s leader Sister Summersisle (Ellen Burstyn) and its strange inhabitants who might be hiding a darker secret than the disappearance of a child.

wicker-man-2006-nicholas-cage-bear-suit

Grrrr…I’m a bear!

Directed by Neil LaBute, The Wicker Man is a remake of the cult classic Robin Hardy film of 1973 which was based on the 1967 novel Ritual.  The film received extremely negative reviews and was nominated for Razzies for Worst Picture, Worst Actor (Nicolas Cage), Worst Screenplay, Worst Remake, and Worst On-Screen Couple (for Cage and his stuffed bear outfit).

It is hard to understand when watching The Wicker Man where the film got so derailed.  Neil LaBute has had some great pictures and many of the actors involved are great actors…but the movie extremely tanks.  It crosses from bad to so-bad-it-is-good.

wicker-man-2006-sister-summersisle-ellen-burstyn

Purple in the morning, blue in the afternoon, orange in the evening.

The story of The Wicker Man didn’t alter much from its core.  It was moved to the United States (thankfully they didn’t try to make Nicolas Cage have an accent) and took out all the sex and sexual innuendos…something that was great in the original.  Gone are the songs and the real bohemian festival feel…all that is left is a blundering story where you aren’t supposed to assume that the girl is Cage’s daughter until half way through the film where they unceremoniously reveal it (it isn’t a surprise).

*****Spoiler Alert***** With Nicolas Cage’s character more tied to the script by Rowan being his daughter, the movie gains things and loses things.  It makes the tie a reason for him to try to stay on the island…this is the only reason because in this version, there doesn’t seem be much motivation to help a stranger (even the car wreck at the beginning of the film).  The ending of the Wicker Man in this version just doesn’t have the shock value.  In both versions, you can see the truth before the main character (something that is good), but you hate all the characters so much that you just want him to die…plus, you really need the character to be religious.  It added something to Hardy’s script by making it a battle of wills between Summersisle (Christopher Lee) and Howie (Edward Woodward).

wicker-man-2006-nicolas-cage-gun-ending

I’m going to yell at everyone I meet and possibly punch them…

I’m usually down on Nicolas Cage because I don’t like his acting style.  Here, you have typical Nicolas Cage, but it is one of the more interesting aspects of the film.  He pretty much goes through the whole movie yelling and screaming, and already seems pushed to the edge before the movie even starts.  It is amusingly bad…he spends most of the people yelling and chastising people.  Ellen Burstyn, Leelee Sobieski, Frances Conroy, Molly Parker, and Sister Beech all have done better…Plus, you do get a couple cameos by Aaron Eckhart, James Franco, and Jason Ritter.

wicker-man-2006-burning-of-the-wicker-man-ending

Burn it and get it done with…

The visuals of the movie are a bit better than the plot.  Like the rest of the movie however, it just doesn’t compare to the first version of the film.  The ’70s style just works with the movie’s story better and the festival look combined with the overt sexuality of the characters isn’t here.  Instead, you get animal motifs, but they come off as ridiculous instead of creepy or clever.

The worst part of The Wicker Man is that in the United States the original Wicker Man was never that big of a movie.  Now, with a bad remake on the books, people might feel they “know” The Wicker Man and never seek out the original film.  If you have a choice, don’t see this film, see the original (or just see something entirely different…seriously, it isn’t worth ruining a good film).

Related Links:

The Wicker Man (1973)

The Wicker Tree (2011)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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