Reviewed by Alicia Glass
Studio: Warner Bros.
MPAA Rating: PG 13
Director: Neil LaBute
Review Rating: 7
An officer of the law gets convinced to go to a small private island to look for a missing girl that the islanders all insist, doesn’t exist.
The Wicker Man is actually based off a legend that’s as old as Paganism itself, which is a lot older than most people think. The idea being, to sacrifice a person for the harvest bounty, once a year, in joyous celebration. The community of Summerisle, where Nicholas Cage’s character Edward Malus is sent, is secretive and closed off and rather neo-Pagan-feminist, so they don’t take too kindly to a male officer of the law poking round their private business. The movie has a tendency to pace a bit slowly towards the beginning, but as Edward discovers more and more strange things, like the idea that the missing girl Rowan is actually his heretofore-unknown daughter, the pace picks up and the villagers run Edward to ground. Just in time for the harvest celebration, and guess who’s the guest of honor!
I know, I know, it’s Nicholas Cage after all, and not for everyone. I personally like his manic style, and his cute psycho little rants, and Wicker Man does get at least one instance of that. Ellyn Burstyn is leader Sister Summerisle, and despite appearing all white and goodly, is in charge of making this bloody and fiery sacrifice happen. Kate Beahan is Sister Willow, Ed’s former paramour and mother of Rowan. Erika-Shaye Gair is Rowan herself, and while the role is rather small, the actress has gone on to some good things. Yes, a lot of what happens to Edward seems silly and unlikely, try and focus instead on what happens to him at the end. Later DVD versions of the film had an alternate ending offering that really, wasn’t necessary at all. Though the original Six months later… vignette ending was amusingly Amazon, it wasn’t much necessary either. Just take away from the film the story of the Wicker Man, a legend that has roots deep in actual history, and a perfect tale for Halloween.