"The Wicker Man"
Directed by Neil LaBute.
Written by Neil LaBute.
Starring Nicolas Cage, Kate Beahan, Leelee Sobiesky and Ellen
Release Year: 2006
Review Date: 9/2/06
I had a choice to finish up my Two for the
Price of None night ("The
Science of Sleep" was early)--go see "Crank" at a nearby
theater, or go to see "The Wicker Man" at a theater near my
apartment. Since I felt better about paying to see "Crank" the
next day, I picked "The Wicker Man" as my second freebie of the
After seeing "Your Friends and Neighbors"
and generally hearing good things about playwright/film director
Neil LaBute, and seeing that he was teaming up with Nic Cage to do a
remake of the 70s' thriller "The Wicker Man", I figured that even
though the trailer sucked, the film might be a bit better.
But, as I am becoming more accustomed to as I get older, I am very
willing to admit that I made a grave mistake, because the 2006
version of "The Wicker Man" is pretty much dogshit, save for some
laughs that are clearly unintentional near the end of the movie.
The set up here is that California cycle cop
Edward Malus (Cage) starts out the film by witnessing a horrible
accident where a mother and her child are hit by an 18-wheeler,
killing both after a fire breaks out in their car. Flash
forward two weeks, and Malus--still on leave from the department for
stress-related symptoms--gets a letter from his ex-fiancée Willow
(Kate Beahan), who has a problem: her young child, Rowan, has gone
missing in the community they live at somewhere off the coast of the
state of Washington. Edward, in an effort to help, gets to the
island, only to find that the island is run by some leftovers of
Paradise Island (where that Wonder Woman chick used to hang), and
everyone there is bent on not assisting into the investigation of
the missing child. But, as Edward gets deeper into the
mystery, you know that something's up, and just where the hell is
that kid being held?
Here's all you need to know--after the
initial 20 minutes, this movie goes slowly but surely right down the
fucking shitter. Now I'm seeing why this was not made
available to critics until the night before reviews could be sent
out--what a dog this movie is! Cage seems hell-bent on making
"The Wicker Man" more camp than thriller, and as a producer of this
mess, one assumes that both he and LaBute were going hard to run
this thing right into the ground. The cast (mainly women on
the island; the few men that are there don't seem to do much
talking) is pretty bad, and they just don't seem to be all that
spooky given how things eventually turn out for everyone involved.
There are no real scares, although a couple of the visuals are a
little weird...but, none are as shocking as the kicker, when Malus
must don a bear suit late in the film in a final effort to retrieve
Rowan. Wow, people were just howling in my theater when this
happened...was the intent here comedy, or horror?
This one is pretty bad; it's not a
bad-looking film and there are some laughs, but overall, this
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Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard