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The Wicker Man(2006)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Neil LaBute

Starring:
Nicolas Cage/Edward
Kate Beahan/Sister Willow
Ellen Burstyn/Sister Summersisle
Molly Parker/Sister Rose
2 10
PLOT-CRUNCH
Cop Nicolas Cage sees a kid die and then his asked by his ex gal-pal to find her missing child. He hits some island filled with YAWN Feminist/Lesbos nut-balls and tries to uncover the mystery by breaking into people's homes, drop kicking dames into walls and taking names. What were they smoking when they made this and can I have some?
THE LOWDOWN
What the f*ck is going on around here! Has Hollywood gone on a crack smoking spree???? I mean a Wicker Man remake was a shitty idea from the get-get go if you ask me or the dead bunny rabbit in my freezer (Hmm…dinner…). The original felt like a one shot deal as its unique/offbeat aura would be near impossible to sanitize for today’s audience without stumbling miserably. I thought that maybe with Neil LaBute at the helm, the man who created two of my fav mean-spirited films (In the Company of Men” & “The Shape of Things), there was a slim chance in hell that all could be well in Graceland. I WAS NOT RIGHT!

The Wicker Man remake made a fool of itself with its first misstep being it’s shoddily laid out main scenario. Shakier than an alcoholic at a liquor store with an empty Gold Card, the sturdy Paganism vs. Christianity themes of the original were replaced by some half-cocked feminism/butch lesbo/bee loving Cult versus an overacting Nicolas Cage (more on him later). Gone was the entrancing sexuality of its forefather (PG 13 yo!) and say hello to ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! Since the Cult's raison d’etre and the motivation for their actions were beyond underdeveloped, that made the whole far from credible. This was supposed to be an island filled with crazy feminist Cult bitches that I should fear? Looked more like a bunch of actors, in costumes, reading a toilet paper script out loud and cashing checks to me.

And it just kept getting worse and worse as the film trucked forward. Suspense wise, LaBute obviously had zero grasp on what makes a fear set piece work. It sure didn’t help shite that his chilling bits were often rendered ridiculous by the lousy cutting and the overbearing score. The more the flick tried to be frightening, the more I giggled like a schoolgirl sniffing glue. It takes more than pathetic, lets pad the clock and the fear quota “dream sequences” (That often went down when the lead was awake?!?) to frighten this old boy. Especially when they’re randomly inserted in places that just don’t make any damn sense! I don’t know about you but the last thing I’d be doing when trying to overcome dire obstacles is go into “trances” of "scary” stuff that was most likely tossed in there to scare up the film’s trailer. But that’s just me!

Which brings me to the film’s last block which had to be the most un-intentionally comedic piece of horror cinema I’ve seen in the last 5 years. It almost felt like the filmmakers said, “f*ck it, this film just doesn’t work, lets go buck-wild, open up Nicolas' cage and hope for the best. How else would you explain Nicky chewing the scenery like it was his last meal and going into spastic facial expressions that would make Plastic Man envious? How else can you justify, Cage’s character punching chicks left and right, “Con Air kicking" gals into walls or running around aimlessly in a kinky bear suit? I was in tears man! TEARS!

Add to all that, choppy scene transitions, cheapo CGI (come on, how hard is it to shoot the actual ocean), dumb ass “The Shining-esque” symbolic imagery, an in the dark Ellen Burstyn (she had no script to work with), side splitting lines that had me in stitches (Bitches!!!!) and a stupid “they’re will be a sequel if this makes money” tacked-on ending and you get an UTTER MESS! Anything good to say? I did dig on how they personalized the lead’s quest via some choice revelations. If the rest of the film was handled properly, it could’ve added to the film’s overall impact. Sadly this update wound up being a big joke and this sole “positive element” became the punch line. BURN WICKER MAN 2006 AT THE STAKE!
GORE
Other than a couple of "after the fact" mangled bodies, the most gore we got here was Nicolas Cage's cocaine-ish facial ticks.
ACTING
Nicolas Cage (Edward) started off strong, underplaying it to a T. But then somebody spiked his coffee as the wild eyed and quip spitting Cage came out of the box to ruin it all. Kate Beahan (Sister Willow) had big eyes and bigger "insert here" lips. Yum...but not much of a part though. Poor Ellen Burstyn (Sister Summersisle), no script and no substance to play with while being in the shadow of the great Christopher Lee who tackled the same role in the original. Molly Parker (Sister Rose) was efficient as the creepy school teacher. Diane Delano (Sister Beech) was too "walking butch cliché" to be taken seriously by your truly. Why was Leelee Sobieski (Sister Honey) in this film again? And why didn't she drop her top to validate her presence?
T & A
I was day dreaming of seeing the girl sitting next to me naked and lathered in whip cream, does that count? No lesbo loving on this lesbo island.
DIRECTING
LaBute made a Bute of himself with awkward choice of close ups, lousily put together suspense/scare scenes and flat atmosphere. Granted some of the cinematography was slick but other than that nobody was home.
SOUNDTRACK
Angelo Badalamenti should stick to David Lynch type films because his rendition of a straight "horror score" was too over the top to serve the film. Help make it funny on the other end...yup that worked!
BOTTOM LINE
The Wicker Man remake wound up being the funniest movie of the year! Too bad it was meant to be a grim horror film. Nothing worked! The Scotch Taped together narrative, the limp scares, the lousy acting and the outlandish last block made sure of that. The flick did have a couple of good ideas but they were urinated on by the flick’s shaky foundation, sad-sap characters, amateur editing and Nick Cage side kicking snatch loving chicks into walls. Good for a couple of hearty laughs when buzzed on something legal or illegal, other than that, in the garbage you go right next to the Pulse remake, the Omen remake and the When a Stranger Calls remake!
BULL'S EYE
Look out for LaBute regular Aaron Eckhart in a cameo early on. James Franco and Jason Ritter have cameos as well.

AVOID THE WICKER MAN SITE HERE

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