|Neil LaBute Director||previously directed The Shape of Things|
A cop goes to a small island in search of a missing girl. There, it gets real, and he finds a bear suit, a huge man made of wood, and a burned doll. How'd it get burned? I. Don't. Know.
The Wicker Man was not screened for critics. Probably because they wanted to surprise everyone with how great it was...
In the police station there is a photo of the main character in the original Wicker Man.1 More Movie Reference
6 More Quotes
Is this hers? How'd it get burned? How'd it get burned? HOW'D IT GET BURNED, HOW'D IT GET BURNED?
|Anthony Shaffer||original screenplay|
|Nicolas Cage||Edward Malus|
|Ellen Burstyn||Sister Summerslsle|
|Kate Beahan||Sister Willow|
|Frances Conroy||Dr. Moss|
|Molly Parker||Sister Rose|
|Leelee Sobieski||Sister Honey|
|Diane Delano||Sister Beech|
|Christa Campbell||Truck Stop Waitress|
|See Full Credits|
The Wicker Man is a 2006 American horror film, and is a remake of the 1973 British film of the same title. Written and directed by Neil LaBute, it was based on a screenplay by Anthony Shaffer, and stars Nicolas Cage and Ellen Burstyn.
Nicolas Cage was reportedly interested in remaking the 1973 original from the very beginning ("I think it's a homage. It's a way of us saying this is a wonderful film," Cage said at the time), while even Neil LaBute
knew that updating such a beloved film would be an unpopular move.
"There are people out there who say, literally, 'I don't care if it's good or bad, I hate the fact that they are doing it'," LaBute said shortly before his film's release. "So, that's a difficult audience to work with. You have to forge yourself ahead and say, I'm making something which, if people are fair with, I think they'll see that you're coming to this with good intentions, and trying to retain the spirit of the thing without being slavish to it."
Edward Malus (Nicolas Cage), an American policeman, gets news from his ex-fiancée (Kate Beahan), that her daughter, Rowan (Erika Shaye Gair), is missing. He asks a pilot (Matthew Walker) to take him to an island off the coast of Washington, U.S. where a group of neo-pagans live. Honey is what drives the economy of the island, which Malus learns has been down recently. The island is led by Sister Summersisle (Ellen Burstyn), an elderly woman who is treated almost like a goddess.
Edward asks the villagers about Rowan, but they all dodge the question. He later sees two men carrying a large bag that appears to be dripping blood. He then finds an unmarked grave in the churchyard. The grave turns out to only contain a burned doll. Malus then finds Rowan's sweater in that churchyard.
At the village school, Edward asks to see the class register. Teacher Sister Rose (Molly Parker) tries to prevent him. When he sees that Rowan's name has been crossed out he becomes enraged at the teacher's and Rowan's classmates' lies. Sister Rose demands Malus to talk outside and she informs him about the island people's view of death. Rose explains that Rowan is "not missing". Malus asks how Rowan died and Rose tells him first that "she'll burn to death". When Malus catches the present tense she uses, Rose corrects herself quickly and rushes herself back to her class.
The day of the burning ritual, Malus frantically searches the village for Rowan. He attacks Sister Beech (Diane Delano), who has a bear costume for the ritual. Malus takes her costume and joins the parade incognito, led by Sister Summersisle.
This parade ends at the site of the festival. Rowan is tied to a large tree, about to be burned. Malus rescues Rowan and they run away through the woods, but Rowan leads him back to Summersisle. Sister Summersisle thanks Rowan for her help, and Malus realizes that the search for Rowan was a trap. The villagers ambush Malus and overpower him. In the "alternate ending" version, this attack scene is extended, where the villagers break his legs and place a mask of bees on his head. Malus shouts, "Killing me won't bring back your goddamn honey!". Unable to move, the women carry him to a giant wicker man and shut him inside. Rowan of all people, sets fire to the wicker man and Malus is sacrificed. The crowd chants "The drone must die!", believing that Malus's sacrifice will restore their honey production. This the end for the alternate version.
In the original theatrical version, there is an epilogue that is set 6 months later. Two male police officers (James Franco, Jason Ritter) in a bar are looking to pick up women and they happen upon Willow and Sister Honey (Leelee Sobieski). The women invite them to go home with them, presumably in hopes of luring them just as Malus was. Screaming from Edward Malus can be heard as the film fades into dark (both scenes are absent from the DVD release).
A DVD was released on December 19, 2006, with an unrated alternate ending included. In this alternate ending, Malus is held down and his legs are broken at the knee. A wire mesh helmet is placed over his head and live bees are poured in. Malus shouts, "Oh, no, not the bees! Not the bees!". After he passes out, the helmet is removed and he is revived with a shot of epinephrine to keep him awake. Throughout all this, he keeps asking how can he be a good sacrifice if he does not believe in their religion. The movie continues in the same way as the theatrical version except the credits begin after the wicker man's burning head falls off. The "6 months later" scene is missing.
Robin Hardy, the co-creator and director of the original 1973 version expressed concerns about the remake. Hardy simply described it as a totally different film rather than remake. He had Warner Brothers remove his name from the promotional material.
The film has been universally panned, with a 14% Rotten Tomatoes score. It received two thumbs down from On At The Movies' Roeper and Tyler.
It garnered 5 Razzie nominations, for Worst Picture, Worst Actor (Cage), Worst Screenplay, Worst Remake, and Worst On-Screen Couple (Cage and his bearsuit).
In hindsight, Cage himself thought the film was "absurd". He remarked in 2010: "There is a mischievous mind at work on The Wicker Man, you know? You know what I mean? And I finally kind of said, 'I might have known that the movie was meant to be absurd.' But saying that now after the fact is OK, but to say it before the fact is not, because you have to let the movie have its own life."