Wicker Man, the - As Bad As Wicker Furniture
| The Wicker Man is the kind of movie that is so bad you want you money back after the credits roll. Not only does this supposed “thriller” fail to scare, it also presents the quite frightening misogynist message that men should be afraid of women and of giving women power in society.
The Wicker Man comes from director Neil LaBute whose debut was the wonderfully unnerving In the Company of Men and the clever but forgettable Nurse Betty. Unfortunately, his work has since gone downhill with snoozers like Possession and now this disaster of a film. I had hoped that LaBute would bring the sense of social critique he displayed in Men to his adaptation of the 70s British cult film but instead he brings a sense of incompetence. I don’t know if it was him or the 7 or 8 production studios that worked on this wreck who crashed this film. Whoever was at fault should quite moviemaking all together.
The Wicker Man is the story of a police officer who witnesses the death of a little girl in an accident and is then sent a letter from a long lost ex who tells him that her daughter is missing and she needs his help to find her. Because this is such a stupid film, he actually shows up to help and never asks himself why the picture of her daughter looks exactly like the little girl in the accident.
His ex lives on an isolated island populated by an Amish like cult of women. The men who live there are voiceless and do only menial labour. Everyone is rude to him and they are obviously lying when responding to his questions about the missing girl. He never seems to react to the fact the whole thing is an obvious and impossible charade or the fact that his ex won’t give him a straight answer about anything including whether or not her daughter is actually still alive or not.
He also doesn’t seem to clue in to the fact that her daughter is exactly the age she would be if he had been the father. He seems shocked when this is revealed. He also seems shocked when the ex and the daughter are as evil as the rest of the “bitches” (the word he dramatically screams out as he meets his end to describe the malevolent females who run this island) in this cult.
You see the whole thing was an elaborate game to draw him to the island to be sacrificed. It seems these witches (who worship an earth goddess, of course) go into “man’s world,” make the poor helpless men fall in love with them and then write them ten years later so they can have a willing sacrifice come to the island. Why they don’t sacrifice their own men and why they need to drag out the charade long after the man is helplessly on the island and able to be easily sacrificed is never explained. As I said, it’s such a bad movie they never get into stuff like believability.
So what you have is a movie that shows how women will victimize men if given the power to do so (a change from the original film). While we are waiting for this misogynist revelation we are subjected to the most obvious and crude symbolism. The women of the isle are obviously connected to some sort of Wicca-like faith which is a convenient way of demonizing both a religion not understood by the film makers and feminine power in general. Also we are subjected to a silly and frustrating plot which is in no way scary. Finally we are subjected to Nicholas Cage’s lame excuse for acting which, since winning an Oscar, seems to be all he is willing to do.
Unless you enjoy hating women and don’t care to be scared much by the horror films you go to, avoid The Wicker Man like the plague. This kind of film is like a plague and the best way for Hollywood to cure itself of this crap is for no one to buy tickets.