Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The Wicker Man

I am going to lose all credibility as a film critic not only because I'm taking the time to review this movie, but because I'm going to give it a fairly decent review. The Wicker Man is of course the 2006 remake of a 1977 classic. The updated version stars Nicholas Cage- acting just as Nicholas Cage should be. Neil Labute, who penned and directed this adaptation does not create a masterpiece of suspense, but offers a fun movie with some genuinely engaging and creepy moments.

The acting is not good, that can't be avoided- but it's almost perfect for Nicholas Cage. He's a good action hero, that's all there is to it. He tries to bring a slight bit of emotion into The Wicker Man, but it's lost. That's okay, because it would probably fall on deaf ears if the audience for this movie has the same mentality towards it that I have. I just want surprises, a few scares, and a lot of creeps.

The plot involves a troubled police officer, Edward Malus (Cage) who investigates the missing child of his ex fiance. Intrigued yet? Just wait, it gets even better. She happens to be living on an island in Washington with a society of cult like weirdos. Not only are they trying to get him to leave, but their trying to convince him that this child never existed...no wait... that she died....no....that she's still alive. Oh I don't know anymore. Their story changed every five minutes, and for some reason Malus would go along with it at almost every turn, only occasionally freaking out at the odd occurrences.

The movie plays out almost like a young adult detective novel- structurally that is. Thematically, it's a bit more mature. But each plot point ends with Malus finding himself in some seemingly hopeless situation, then the next scene he figures an easy way out, or is rescued. I expect Labute was a Hardy Boys fan. Lucky for him, so was I.

I will say, and with complete sincerity, that the ending is fabulous. I have not seen the original, but I knew how it ended, and it still gave me the chills. The Wicker Man was just another entry into a long list of recent horror movie remakes (The Hills Have Eyes, When a Stranger Calls, The Hitcher, and Halloween which is coming out later this year). The Wicker Man, however, is easily the strongest out of all these. It stayed rather close to the original, while updating the style a bit (putting it in the Pacific Northwest instead of England). I'm not saying it's a work of art, but it does accomplish what it sets out to. It's fun, surprising, and even a little scary.


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