I swear, I’m not trying to be contrarian. I know it might seem like I am after disliking a renowned classic like An American Werewolf In London a few weeks back, but I’ve got to add The Wicker Man to that list of classics I just don’t get the appeal of.
The story follows a cop who heads to a small town only reachable by plane, apparently. He’s investigating the disappearance of a little girl. The more time he spends in the town, though, the more he discovers that people seem to be lying about what happened to the kid. Meanwhile, he’s also learning that they’re a more nature-based people, worshiping the sun and nature. This really sets off the Christian cop.
If you haven’t seen the movie, there be SPOILERS ahead. It’s difficult for me to side with the cop in this movie as he becomes more and more incensed with the fact that these people aren’t Christians. It’s annoying, really and old fashioned. In addition to that, absolutely nothing about the movie is scary. Even remotely. It’s a town filled with nature lovers who sing so much I thought I was watching a lame musical. There’s like one big guy. Shouldn’t a trained police officer be able to handle himself a little better? I mean, I don’t expect him to be like Simon Pegg in Hot Fuzz (though that would have made for a much better movie) but the cop shouldn’t have been so easily subdued at the end of the movie. Also, even if he was, why didn’t he fight to get out of the wicker man? He just sits in there and starts talking all bible-like so he can die. Bleh. It’s just silly.
I know there’s a Nic Cage remake of the movie, which has birthed one of my all time favorite YouTube clips (see below), but I think a remake would have been better served by someone with some visual style. Can you imagine if David Lynch did this movie? Heck, I remember a TV movie version of The Lottery starring Dan Cortez from the 90s that gave me the creeps more than this flick, though the animal masks were a bit eerie.
At the end of the day, I just don’t see the appeal. Maybe it worked better back in the 70s when the island society would have seemed a lot crazier than now. Heck, today, you’d have to switch the POVs and have the cop be free thinking and the townspeople be ultra religious to have it even make sense. Anyway, it’s just a movie that didn’t do anything for me aside from giving Christopher Lee another good, crazy-guy role to play. Actually, now that I think about it, maybe the Nic Cage version wouldn’t be so bad because I’m not a fan of the original.
2 thoughts on “Halloween Scene: The Wicker Man (1973)”
Oof, TJ, this pains me to read.
Here’s the review I wrote of it back in the day:
I definitely understand what they were going for and what you wrote about in your review, but I didn’t FEEL it, you know? There were just too many things separating me from the movie: the movie looking like it was filmed for the BBC, the costumes looking like something out of a Sid & Marty Krofft show and the fact that I mostly sided with the townspeople (except for that whole last scene thing, why waste all those pigs?). I also felt like Howie was just too stupid. He never questioned who sent him the missing person’s post card even after the entire town said the girl didn’t exist. He also couldn’t fight his way out of a paper bag or figure out what was wrong with his plane (or lock it for chrissakes). I do think if I had seen this movie years ago, it would have gotten to me a lot more.