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by Willie Waffle

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The Wicker Man

Whenever someone tells you a movie was a cult hit in the 70’s, you should be very wary of its entertainment potential.  You have to remember lots of people did lots of drugs in the 70’s, which made James Taylor, disco and the original The Wicker Man seem much cooler than they are.

Based on the 70’s cult hit (I warned you), Nicolas Cage stars as California sheriff Edward Malus.  After witnessing a horrific accident and failing to save the victims, he has fallen into a great depression.  One day, he receives a letter from his old fiancée, Willow (Kate Beahan), begging for help in finding her lost daughter.  Compelled by current circumstances and his desire to help a woman who meant so much to him in the past, he travels to her remote island community in the Puget Sound, and starts an investigation that leads to great peril.

Was Willow’s daughter kidnapped?  Why?  What has become of her?

When he was reading the script, and saw the part of the movie where he is supposed to run through the forest in a bear suit, I hope Cage asked for a huge pay raise.  If he didn’t, I have lost all respect for him because this movie is a silly piece of junk you should only participate in for a huge sum of money that makes up for the assault on your integrity (I can handle movie fans all across the world laughing at me if it helps buy a Bulgarian castle like the one Cage just purchased).   

Writer/director Neil Labute does include some frightful moments, but they are cheap frights that have nothing to do with advancing the story or helping understand the characters better.  Then, he takes us through an unacceptably meaningless plot that can be predicted within the first 15 – 20 minutes even if you never knew the movie was a remake.  The dialogue is supposed to be mysterious and get us more intrigued, but just ends up mocking the horridness of the movie on the big screen before you. 

Meanwhile, Edward is sent running all around the island in a series of uneventful scenes that fail to build any tension partly because they are ill-conceived (based on the original script by Anthony Shaffer) and partly because Labute makes the action move at the speed of a glacier.  However, if you fall asleep, Cage will wake you up with his ranting and raving.

While the rest of the characters are all moving through the movie in a haze (you’ll understand why when you learn about the story or, God forbid, see this movie), Cage gets ample opportunities to ham it up as Edward gets pushed further and further over the edge.  Most of the performance feels forced, which is a shame from someone as talented as Cage, but I think he was trying to compensate for the disaster going on all around him.     

The Wicker Man commits the worst sin a serious thriller, action film or horror movie can – it is outright silly and laughable.     

0 Waffles (Out Of 4)

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