The Wicker Man (2006) — A terrible bee-movie

“How’d it get burned? How’d it get burned?”

Justin’s rating: This is where the phrase “blood honey” got its origin

Justin’s review: In the years that followed 2006, Nicolas Cage has tried to get a defense going of this Wicker Man remake, claiming that it wasn’t actually a laughably botched horror movie but a film that intended to be an absurdist comedy all along. I think there’s very little evidence to support that, and far more that indicates how everyone knew by the time shooting was done that this was going to be a monumental stinker.

It’s certainly a whole lot more fun to consider it from the “botched horror flick” perspective, what with scene after scene of events that were intended to be scary ended up becoming the internet’s favorite memes:

But as with many things, I was quite late to The Wicker Man party, so I’m only now sitting down to subject myself to this barrel of insanity, bear suits, and Nicholas Cage overacting.

Because nobody’s going to care about spoilers with this one, it’s helpful to review it with all of the “twists” unveiled to see how stupid it actually is. At the start of the movie, state trooper Edward (Cage) gets this letter from his ex-fiancée asking him to come to some obscure, “off limits” island to help her look for her missing daughter. This is a highly convoluted setup — which also involves a weirdly staged car accident — to lure Eddie to the island for some pagan sacrificin’. It’s because last year’s honey crop is low, and, logically, the only way to get a better result is to trick some blood relative to visit for some torture and murder.

I guess we could also chalk it up to a woman who really wants to stick it to her former beau.

Anyway, once Edward gets to this island, the movie cranks up the weirdness dial and then walks away without remorse. Cage acts like the most awkward human being you’ll ever meet, speaking as if it’s a completely new concept to him. He also cranks out emotions on a random basis, swinging from sarcastic to screaming to bewildered almost independent of the actual scene going on. What’s even better is the fact that Edward continually puts himself in deadly situations all on his own as if he’s trying to die before anyone can kill him.

But Cage’s Edward is only half of the glorious weirdness that makes up Wicker Man. The other is the islanders, who are these looney cultish pagans who couldn’t be acting more suspicious than if they all wore jail stripes and carried bloodied pitchforks around. Each and every one of them are rude and off-putting to the human sacrifice that they are supposedly trying to keep around. Even Edward’s ex is inconsistent — is she a love interest? An evil plotter? Stoned out of her gourd? Eh, depends on the whims of the scene.

Faced with an obstinate crowd, Edward draws upon all of his expert police training to run around screaming wildly, stealing bikes, and punching out no less than three women (once while in a bear costume). His erratic behavior, the frequent dream sequences, and the unknowable rules of the islanders make all of this far less scary than it obviously wanted to be.

This certainly isn’t a scary film — I mean, Smurfs: The Lost Village had more jump scares than Wicker Man. Really, the best way to approach The Wicker Man is to surrender to its incompetence and adore every stupid-soaked minute of it. Twitching bag of dripping blood? Crow in a desk? So much honey talk? Double dream sequences? Girl wearing a beard of bees? Slapping masks off kids? Cheer it on until the credits arrive and you can resume your now-damaged life!

Didja notice? 

  • Burgers can put you into a trance
  • “Everything’s OK!”
  • Kids throwing dolls onto the road have resulted in more truck collisions and resultant explosions than you’ll ever want to know
  • “So.” “Well that sums it up.” But does it?
  • If you’re allergic to bees, you should go to an island known for bees
  • “I’m a cop!” “What does that mean?”
  • “What’s in the bag, a shark or something?”
  • “Swing” is a kind of city talk
  • Why oh why would you kill the bee?
  • Truck on a boat!
  • Man in his purest form? “Phallic symbol phallic symbol!”
  • “I’m just up here to find a missing girl who people are pretending doesn’t exist.”
  • They don’t use the word “dead?”
  • Double misleading dream sequences!
  • “Rituals of the Ancients” book
  • Lots of doctors have dead babies in jars
  • “Want some help?” Proceeds to ruin their log cart.
  • Yes, let’s just randomly bike — then run — through a bee field. And roll down some hills for good measure.
  • So much ominous child whispering on the soundtrack
  • Is it already that time of the movie where we’re digging up a kid’s grave in the dark?
  • I, too, like going swimming down random cisterns in a jacket, tie, and suit pants
  • “How’d it get burned? HOW’D IT GET BURNED?”
  • Hullo, naked one-eye guy
  • Hullo, girl covered in bees and smiling
  • Hullo, creepy grinning twins
  • He doesn’t need anyone’s permission!
  • Nothing says “hero” like sucker punch
  • Whoever told this woman that white and blue woad paint looked good on her wasn’t her friend at all
  • Did he just karate-kick Leelee Sobieski into a wall?
  • Bees super enjoy being poured down holes? Because that’s how bees work?

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