Not having seen the original British classic 1970s cult horror film, I still watched the 2006 remake of The Wicker Man. It was written and directed by Neil LaBute, based on a screenplay by Anthony Shaffer, and stars Nicolas Cage, along with Molly Parker, Leelee Sobieski & Ellen Burynstn. The movie was panned critically and failed at the box office, falling just short of it’s $40 million budget.
Edward Malus is a California Highwat Patrol bike cop (I was reminded of ChIpS) and stops a station wagon driven by a woman as her daughter had thrown a doll out the window. Malus takes the doll back and gives it the girl who proceeds to throw it again. While he goes to retrieve it, the huge truck crashes against the station wagon. Mom is killed and Malus tries to get the girl out but the car explodes, knocking him out. As Malus recovers, he gets a mail from an ex of his, Willow, who he hasn’t seen in a few years. In the letter she asks him to help her find her lost daughter. Willow lives on this secluded private island off the coast of Washington state, where a group of Celtic pagans live, farming fruits and honey (which they are famous form) and have nothing much to do with the outside world. The island is run by Sister Summersisle, who is treated as the human embodiment of their main goddess and their main source of income is from the honey that they harvest.The only way in is to sneak in via a boat plane and on reaching the island Malus is made aware that the people on it are strange. He finds little help but managed to meet Willow at the inn where he rents a room. Willow is convinced that her daughter Rowan is alive while everyone else says the girl burned to death.
Malus investigates and asks questions but this woman dominated community is weirdly strange & tight-lipped and the men never speak and are unusually docile. Malus is disgusted to learn that the community women sees men as mainly used for breeding. At the school he finds that none of the girls in the class seem to recognize Rowan’s photo but the school register has Rowan’s name stricken off. The teacher, after a short discussion of the island people’s view of death, says that Rowan will burn before correcting her tense and says that she burned. Willow finally confesses to Malus that Rowan is his daughter as Malus finally meets Sister Summersisle but is stung by bees and is brought in by her servants. He accuses her of trying to hold information back and gets her permission to dig Rowan’s body from her grave. He only finds a burned doll but he finds Rowan’s sweater underwater in the churchyard. On the day of their main festival, Malus attacks Sister Beech, who has a bear costume for the ritual joins the parade led by Sister Summersisle, dressed as the bear. He finds Willow in the parade, after he has told her to stay at home, and then sees Rowan tied to a tree at the site of the festival ground. Malus rescues Rowan and they run away through the woods, but Rowan leads him back to Sister Summersisle. Sister Summersisle thanks Rowan for her help, and Malus realizes that the search for Rowan was a trap.
The villagers attack Malus, breaks his legs and place a mask of bees on his head. Then they carry him into a large Wicker man and shut him inside. Although the look on Willow’s face shows she is pained, she joins the chants. Rowan sets fire to the wicker man and Malus is sacrificed. The crowd chants “The drone must die!”, believing that Malus’s sacrifice will restore their honey production. Malus pleads asking how can he be a good sacrifice if he does not believe in their religion or their gods. and dies in the fire. 6 months later we see Willow & Honey (another girl from the island) flirt with two men (James Franco andJason Ritter) in a bar and invite them to go home with them, presumably in hopes of luring them for breeding just as Malus was.
The movie is strange in places. I didn’t think that they haunting images of the little girl who died in the crash was needed and why does he always see her as Rowan, until the end, when he only comes to see her what she looks like after the crash! There is some dream sequences that are creepy and man is the girl played by Rowan creepy! Especially when she lights the wicker man on fire, she looks downright evil! I did like the movie although I see why it bombed. I’m still gonna give it a 6.5 out of 10!