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The Wicker Man (2006)

DVD Cover (Warner Brother)
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4.4
 / 10
3 votes
Movie Connections:
The Wicker Man
> The Wicker Man (1973)
> The Wicker Man (2006)
Genres:
Horror, Police Detective Film, Supernatural Horror
Director:
Neil LaBute Neil LaBute
Starring:
Nicolas Cage Nicolas Cage
Ellen Burstyn Ellen Burstyn
Kate Beahan Kate Beahan
Frances Conroy Frances Conroy
Molly Parker Molly Parker
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Review by Chad
Added: January 20, 2007
I thought long and hard before sitting down to write this review, because to be quite honest, I think it's going to kill whatever semblance of writing / movie-knowledge credibility that I may have had. You see, I've never seen the original Wicker Man. I know, I know - it's a cult classic and it's such a great movie (or so I'm told), but it's always been one of those movies that sounds interesting in its own right, but probably not exactly my cup of tea. I had no intention of seeing the remake of this movie, but a copy of it mysteriously found its way onto my desk, so here we are.

Nicolas Cage stars as a police officer by the name of Edward Malus, and in the opening scene of the movie, he watches as a young woman and her daughter burn to death after a semi slams into their car. Talk about a great day at work. He decides to take a couple of weeks off, and while he's sitting at home watching westerns and popping anxiety pills, he receives a letter from his ex. This letter explains to him that she left him to go back to Summersisle, a secluded little island that lives by the "old ways" and does things a little differently. That's all well and good, but the letter also points out that she now has a daughter - or, I should say, had a daughter. You see, the daughter has disappeared, and this lady believes that there may be foul play involved.

Edward heads to the island to help solve the case, and there, he meets Willow (Kate Beahan), his letter-writing former love. She immediately explains that the other people on this nearly all-woman island are not to be trusted and that they are probably responsible for her daughter's disappearance. Things get a little bizarre when Edward starts asking questions, and everyone he talks to has a different response concerning this disappearance. One person claims that Willow never had a daughter, another says that the little girl had an accident and died, and still another person claims that the daughter is alive and well. Who can be trusted and who's telling the truth becomes the name of the game as he attempts to find this kid.

When I said that I feel as though I'm probably going to kill my credibility on this site after posting this review, it wasn't just because I haven't seen the original. The main reason for that statement is because I actually sort of enjoyed this remake. Don't get me wrong: it was nothing spectacular, and I still firmly stand by my statement that the remake trend should have died out after the first hundred or two, but after seeing how truly awful some of the recent remakes have been, I was pretty shocked when I found that this one was at least in the average range of ratings.

I enjoyed the fact that the storyline moved along at a fairly good pace and kept me interested until the very end. I also enjoyed how I truly didn't see the ending coming; I assume that anyone who saw the original would have, but since I didn't, it was a shock to me. I fully expected to receive a traditional Hollywood ending even after - how can I put this without spoiling it - the "plan" was "set into motion", and when I realized that that wasn't going to happen, I started to believe that there may be hope for Hollywood yet. Of course, I then got online and found out about a Driller Killer remake being in the works, but for just a fleeting moment, there was a glimmer of hope inside me.

On the negative side of things, the ending of the film made me realize that a lot of things that I had witnessed were inserted for no reason other than to produce some neat scenes for the trailer. Things happen which have no relevance to the overall storyline and receive no payoff in the end, and there's even a few events which directly contradict statements that the leading characters have made. For example, a minor character is killed towards the end, and while this wouldn't be out of place in most movies, it occurs here just a few scenes after the murderer gives a speech about how she doesn't believe in murder and how it's not allowed on this island. It could be argued that she was lying when she said such, but c'mon: this death was in the movie for the sole purpose of shock value, logic be damned. There's also a fairly large number of scenes which were unintentionally comedic (this was mainly the fault of the writers), but I suppose that is a matter of opinion; therefore, I'll leave the details out of this review.

Overall, it's an average movie. I'd place money on the original being better even though I haven't seen it, as that movie is still being talked about thirty years after its release. This one is forgettable and probably won't be talked about for much more than a couple of months now that it's on DVD, but for the ninety minutes that it ran for, it was decent enough. 5/10.
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bluemeanie #1: bluemeanie - added 01/20/2007, 10:36 PM
Worst movie ever made. Period. Nicolas Cage gives the worst acting performance in the history of film. Neil LaBute, normally a genius in both his writing and filmmaking, drops the ball. I see what he was going for, but the film is more a comedy than anything else. Laughably bad. -11/10.
Ross #2: Ross - added 01/23/2007, 12:08 PM
Whoever thought they were being clever when they made all those ridiculous plot changes is a fucking moron.
I mean, for fuck's sake. The investigator was intended to be a devout christian, and a virgin. It was a well-known, strategically placed fact when he was shanghaied into the investigation. At least, in the original it was.

Pretty much, the original was hollowed out - the artsy, eerie aspect was replaced with blockbuster jump-scenes and the like. It was faithful to the ending, but I could probably perform a more believable reenactment in my back yard, alone, with my camera phone. It's funny how the original had much more stunning visuals, considering it came a good 30 or so years before this.

Hopefully this remake just fades the fuck away (as it seems to be doing, thankfully). I found myself laughing where the intention was an intense feeling of dread. Actually, I found myself laughing every time Nicholas Cage (or anyone, for that matter) opened his fucking piehole. Terrible, terrible acting. The original has always been one of my favorite films of all time.. and I'd like to be able to make that claim without having the vast majority of people think of this film.

Just like last year's harvest on Summisle, this remake FAILS. 0/10
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