The Wicker Tree (2011)

wicker tree poster 2011 movie review
4.0 Overall Score
Story: 5/10
Acting: 3/10
Visuals: 5/10

Still an interesting concept for a story

Loses the edge of the original film, story isn't developed enough, horrible acting, and dull visuals

Movie Info

Movie Name:  The Wicker Tree

Studio:  British Lion Films

Genre(s):  Horror

Release Date(s):  July 19, 2011 (Fantasia Film Festival)/August 27, 2011 (UK)

MPAA Rating:  R

wicker-tree-beths-past-as-a-singer-brittania-nicol

Beth’s “scandalous” past as an even worse singer…

Beth Boothby (Brittania Nicol) is a pop-country singer and a born again Christian.  Travelling with her fiancé Steve Thompson (Henry Garrett) to Scotland on a mission to help convert followers, Beth faces opposition from an isolated Scottish town of Tressock preparing for their May Day celebration.  With both Beth and Steve being tempted by the people of the Tressock, their fates, both spiritual and physical, hang in the balance.

Directed by Robin Hardy, The Wicker Tree is a follow-up to the cult 1973 film The Wicker Man and based on Hardy’s 2006 novel Cowboys for Christ.  The film was generally panned by critics but often raised above the disastrous remake of The Wicker Man from 2006.

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Oh no, naked men running at me… The preacher always said this would happen if I left the church!

Though not considered a true sequel to The Wicker Man, The Wicker Tree is part of Hardy’s Wicker Man Trilogy which explores themes of paganism in a modern world.  Christopher Lee makes an appearance in this film as the “Old Gentleman” who is supposed to have taught the leader of the cult in The Wicker Tree; Lee has said that the character isn’t Lord Summerisle from the first film (Hardy has said different).

The story of The Wicker Tree basically parallels the plot of The Wicker Man.  Two “pure” souls are dumped in a pagan world with only their faith to protect them.  Here, Steve falls to temptation while Beth holds out…but still faces an end similar to the original film.  The strange thing about this is that Summerisle’s isolated island made a lot more sense than a mainland Scottish village not far from Glasgow.  I know there are continuously mission groups from church, but I didn’t think that the gritty world of Scotland was part of their focus…If they had picked an undeveloped country or island to visit, it would have made more sense.

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It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature…

The acting also takes a big downgrade from the first film.  Brittania Nicol really struggles here as an actress and comes off as a Disney TV comedy actor rather than someone caught in a web of death.  The same can be said for her co-star Henry Garrett who bumbles his way through the choppy script.  Lord Summerisle’s followers were creepy and somewhat realistic, but Sir Lachlan Morrison (Graham McTavish) has followers which almost come off as cartoony…It would have been interesting to see Christopher Lee as Morrison as the script originally intended until Lee suffered an on-set back injury.

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Remember that great time we had at the wicker tree?

Visually, the movie also lags.  The Wicker Man had that great edgy ’70s feel.  It wasn’t clean, it wasn’t perfectly framed and as a result, it felt much more real and eerie.  Here, everything is perfect, clean, and crisp.  It might show how film has advanced, but it takes that edge out of the picture and just makes it feel goofier.

The Wicker Tree is an unfortunate follow-up to a great film.  It does help get the bitter taste of The Wicker Man remake out of your mouth, but it still isn’t up there with the classic film.  Despite the mixed reviews, the third and final part of the trilogy The Wrath of the Gods was scheduled for filming but the death of Hardy in 2016 questions if the film will ever be made.

Related Links:

The Wicker Man (1973)

The Wicker Man (2006)

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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