The Wicker Man (2006)
The Wicker Man (sometimes referred to as "the Nicolas Cage version") is a 2006 American horror film written and directed by Neil LaBute and starring Nicolas Cage. It is a remake of the 1973 British horror cult classic of the same name.
At the film's release, it received overwhelmingly negative reviews from both critics and moviegoers alike, pointing out the film's unintentional hilarity, weak acting and poor story. Like its British counterpart before it, the film also received a cult following, but for all the wrong reasons, mainly for Cage's over-the-top performance.
A police officer investigating the disappearance of a young girl from a small island discovers there is a larger mystery to solve among the island's secretive, neo-pagan community.
Why It Should Get Stung
- To get the elephant out of the room, this film has cheesy and laughable dialogue, such as "AGH! Not the bees!", "Oh no, my eyes!" and "How did it get burned?".
- In fact, these lines have since become internet memes.
- Most of the acting ranges from bland and emotionless with Ellen Burstyn to outright hammy, especially from Nicolas Cage.
- It is extremely unfaithful to the original 1973 film of the same name, with poor attempts to make it scary and frightful.
- This film's numerous attempts at being scary fail miserably.
- Awful plot that's completely different to the film it is based on.
- Rampant sexism (i.e. punching girls in the face, the misandrist cultists), which the original movie had none of.
- A lot of obvious foreshadowing something that the 1973 film would never try to do.
- Just like the 1998 remake of Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho, this remake should have turned the entire horror remake genre into a dead horse.
- The remake feels like an attempt to be a unintentional black comedy with Nicolas Cage's over-the-top performance.
- Terrible visual effects, such as the fake looking bees inside Edward's cage and the fire on the Wicker Statue.
- Sadly, the scene where Edward gets stung by the fake looking bees is only in the unrated director's cut.
- Edward Malus (Nicolas Cage's character and based on Neil Howie from the original 1973 film) is extremely unlikable and a Butt-Monkey in this film.
- He is effectively an idiotic sexist police officer who looks nothing like Neil from said 1973 film. He is a Christian discovering the island's region while Edward tries to find his former girlfriend's daughter, Rowan, who is none other than his biological daughter.
- Edward's nightmare of the car crash constantly appears and little or nothing to the story whatsoever.
- The pacing isn't that great.
- Bad direction by Neil LaBute.
- Unlike the original 1973 film of the same name, which was rated R, this version was rated PG-13, which means some of the violence is toned down.
- The soundtrack is decent enough.
- The hammy acting, poor CGI, awkward dialogue and cringeworthy characters can all make up for hilarity rather than horror.
- The unrated director's cut retains the scene where Edward gets stung by the bees. That scene (depending on your view) is memorable and fun to watch despite the terrible visual effects as mentioned above.
- Nicolas Cage/Malus in a bear suit. Enough said.
- "Not the bees! AAAHH!"
On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 15% based on 108 reviews and a weighted average score of 3.70/10. The website's consensus says, "Puzzlingly misguided, Neil LaBute's update [of] The Wicker Man struggles against unintentional comedy and fails." On Metacritic, the film has a normalized score of 36% from 19 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews". CinemaScore gave it a rating of "F" based on surveys from general audiences.
- Robin Hardy, the director of the British original, was skeptical of the remake and wanted his name removed from its promotional material. Christopher Lee, who portrayed Lord Summerisle in the original, was just as disappointed, commenting: "I don't believe in remakes. You can make a follow-up to a film, but to remake a movie with such history and success just doesn't make sense to me."
- This film was dedicated to late musician Johnny Ramone, who introduced Nicolas Cage to the 1973 original.
- Edward Woodward, who portrayed Sgt. Neil Howie in the original, has said that while he was offered a part in the film and declined, he nevertheless was "surprisingly impressed by the quality of the script."
- Winona Ryder turned down the role of Willow as she hated the script.
- Liam Neeson and Robert Carlyle were both considered for the lead role.