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Horror - The Wicker Man - Unrated and Rated Edition

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The Wicker Man
Unrated and Rated Edition
Nicolas Cage, Ellen Burstyn, Leelee Sobieski
Directed by Neil LaBute
Warner Home Video 2006
102 minutes

In The Wicker Man -a remake of the 1973 Robin Hardy movie, Nicolas Cage plays Edward Malus, a police officer whose life is about to change dramatically. At the beginning of the movie he witnesses a spectacular crash while performing his patrol duties. This event leaves him with psychological scars and he must use medication to fight the hallucinations and flashbacks he suffers from. During his medical leave, he receives a troubling call for help from his former fiancée. Apparently, her young daughter went missing on the island where she now lives but she doesn't trust anyone but him to try to solve the mystery of where her daughter is.

This is the beginning of his quest to find the truth about what is going on on Summersisle, and as soon as he gets there, he realises that the people that surround him are acting quite strangely, and that his investigation won't be a walk in the park.

The Wicker Man has some very surprising twists, but overall many elements of the story were predictable. Although Nicolas Cage's acting is as convincing as usual, it's like his character is doing everything in his power to get himself in trouble. He goes on a remote island to investigate what he believes to be either a kidnapping or a murder, but he doesn't judge it necessary to inform any of his colleagues about it. You know something bad is going to happen already. Another thing that slightly annoyed me is that once in a while Malus falls asleep and that's when most of the action takes place, only for us to realise a second after he wakes up that he needs a pill to get rid of these hallucinations.

The story does bring up interesting reflections about religion vs. paganism, the role of men vs. women in society, but doesn't really push it beyond the fact that the people of Summersisle have a weird and creepy set of beliefs which seem to contradict everything our North American culture believes in. I can't go much further here without giving away the movie's punch lines.

The 2 sided DVD of The Wicker Man gives you the option of viewing the original movie theatre release, or an unrated version with an alternate ending sequence. The usual commentary by the director and other contributors is also available. If you saw this movie in theatres, you won't find a lot to keep your interest on this DVD. If you didn't, I'd say the story could be worth it for those of you who like really weird witch stories.

Vincent Lemire

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