The Wicker Man (2006) (12A)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner04/09/2006

Two out of Five stars
Running time: 101 mins

Pointless remake that fails dismally as a horror movie but at least provides a couple of unintentional laughs in the attempt.

What's it all about?
Following a bizarre accident, traumatised cop Edward Malus (Nicolas Cage) gets a letter from ex-girlfriend Willow Woodward (Kate Beahan) inviting him to the remote island of Summersisle in order to find her missing daughter, Rowan (Erika-Shaye Gair). Once there, Edward discovers a sinister matriarchal community led by Sister Summersisle (Ellen Burstyn) and begins to suspect that Rowan is to be sacrificed in a pagan ritual.

The Bad
Some remakes are more forgivable than others. However, this one is by that renowned misogynist Neil LaBute (doing his most ostensibly commercial film to date), who really should have known better.

Robin Hardy's 1973 original is a bona fide British classic, a deeply creepy horror movie with a genuinely terrifying ending. LaBute deserves a certain amount of credit for keeping the original ending (as opposed to the remake of The Vanishing) but the rest of the film is so badly handled that the climax is rendered laughable as a result, not least because the 12A rating requires much of it to occur offscreen.

The Worst
The acting doesn't help much either. Cage lumbers around in full-on shouty mode and his character is never particularly likeable so we don't feel all that sorry for him. Beahan is rather wet and ineffectual as Willow, whilst decent actresses like Frances Conroy and Ellen Burstyn are given very little to do beyond trying to keep a straight face. The only interesting performance is by Molly Parker (who should do more evil roles) as the sinister schoolmistress and her unexplained twin sister.

Unfortunately, the film fails on several levels - there are no scary moments, Cage frequently does inexcusably stupid things (e.g putting on a bear costume) and entire characters are introduced and then inexplicably dropped.

Worth seeing?
The Wicker Man is for fans of amusingly bad movies only. Rent the original instead.

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The Wicker Man (2006) (12A)
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Content updated: 18/12/2017 01:17

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