The Wicker Man is an American horror film made in 2006, and is a remake of the 1973 British horror classic of the same name. The film was written and directed by Neil LaBute, it stars Nicolas Cage and Ellen Burstyn and the plot does roughly follow the same outline as the original film, though there are several differences. The film paid a series of tributes to star of the original Edward Woodward, as Cage’s character was called Edward and the child was called Rowan Woodward. A poster entitled “missing” can also be seen inside the police station; along with a photo of Edward Woodward from 1973, Woodward actually declined a cameo role in the film though. Unfortunately the film received terrible reviews and didn’t even break even on its $40 million budget; only making $32,259,395 worldwide and the majority of that actually came from American box office sales.
After witnessing a horrible car crash, where a young woman and her daughter both died, Edward Malus (Cage) receives a letter from his former fiancée Willow Woodward (Kate Beahan). The letter requests his assistance in finding her daughter Rowan, who has gone missing and informs him of how nobody is helping her and he’s her only option. Curiosity takes Edward to the isolated village of Summersisle, where its inhibitors are Pagans and do not take kindly to strangers, proving to be very uncooperative in his search for Rowan. He’s being told misleading lies and the common response from the village is that Rowan doesn’t exist, but he soon digs down and starts to uncover some answers that affect him in more ways than one. All is not as it seems, and as Edward feels he’s getting closer to the truth, could it be that he’s getting further than he ever imagined?
Despite receiving extremely harsh criticism due to comparisons to the original and some of the acting, I thought that this version of “The Wicker Man” was very good. I felt that it stuck to the original very well, making subtle changes that did not affect the outcome. What does let the film down is some of the slow drama in the middle that seemed like a brief stint of unnecessarily drawn out incidents. I thought that Nicolas Cage was excellent and performed far better than I’ve seen him do in other films, he acted very well, and was particularly effective at the end, bringing very realistic attributes to add to the greatness of the ending.
The original version of The Wicker Man is undoubtedly superior due to its unique style and originality, but this is a very worthy remake that I really enjoyed.