One day, while out patrolling, Officer Edward Malus (Nicolas Cage) pulls over a mother and daughter to return the daughter’s doll she dropped on the road. The car is hit by a semi-truck and bursts into flames. Malus tries to save the girl, but it’s too late.
Boy, that seems like an extremely important part of the film. I bet we’re gonna get a lot of connecting plot segments pointing back to that very pivotal event.
Some time afterward, Malus receives a letter from his ex-fiancee, Willow Woodward (Kate Beahan), stating that their daughter is missing. He travels to the island Willow lives on, off the coast of Washington, and discovers a honey-loving, bee-obsessing society dwelling there, led by the worshiped Sister Summersisle (Ellen Burstyn).They claim to not know the girl he is looking for, but the more Malus digs into the situation, the more secrets he uncovers.
1973′s The Wicker Man, starring Edward Woodward and Christopher Lee, was a film, at the time of its release, destined for cult acclaim. 2006′s The Wicker Man, starring Nicolas Cage and Ellen Burstyn, was a film, at the time of its release, destined for the shelves of your local thrift shop. It’s a film so incomprehensibly bad, despite the presences of two Oscar winning performers and an acclaimed writer/director at the helm, that a better title for this would’ve been Nicolas Cage: His Tax Bill Just Isn’t Gonna Pay Itself.
Let’s see if I can make some sense of this.
1) When we’re first introduced to Officer Malus, he’s happily buying a self help tape. Ponder the irony there.
2) Officer Malus continues to suffer from a dream referring back to the opening car accident mentioned up above. This, in spite of the fact that it holds no connection to anyone, anywhere or anything after it takes place, which leads me to believe…
- The director’s intention was to provide a clear omen and forewarning of troubling times to come. The little girl, represented as Malus’s daughter, was a sign to him that she was truly in danger. If you really pay close attention, you’ll notice that the car represents America’s Gross Domestic Product, the flames represent GDP decline due to a drop in consumer confidence and rising inflation, and the semi-truck represents a blatant disregard for laissez-faire economics that have been the pinnacle of this country’s economic foundation for decades.
- Nope. Malus is just bat-shit crazy.
- See, I can throw random points at you like the film does too.
3) The islanders, despite having no means of technology within their village, have a website.
4) Someone calls Edward and it freaks him out. Must be someone from the island. You know, the island that has no phones available.
5) Would’ve made much more sense if they instant messaged him using the magical internet connection they’re using to power their website.
6) When Edward arrives at the island, he gets a drink and kills a bee at the bar table. I think he yelled, “You stupid cunts!!!!” at all the women in the building. Maybe not, but their reaction to the bee squashing makes you assume he did.
7) Oh, hey, look. It’s another dream sequence involving that car accident that has no connection whatsoever to this story.
8) In a very awkward moment, Leelee Sobieski’s character pleads with Edward to take her with him when she leaves. She must’ve had a premonition of her following up this movie with In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale and 88 Minutes.
9) Edward walks in on a classroom full of little girls stating “Phallic symbol. Phallic symbol.”, to which he just laughs it off.
10) I can’t wait to share a similar moment like that with my future daughter. “Haha! Oh, silly you… you dirty, trampy slut… Okay, let’s get ready. You got Little League in 30 minutes.”
11) Seeing that the plane that brought him to the island has returned to pick him up, Edward quickly runs to it, hoping to escape. It’s unfortunate for him that in the two minutes it took him to run to the plane, the elderly women there have already managed to kill the pilot and take out the plane’s communication system, which leads me to believe…
- Lazy writing.
- That Metamucil’s really kicking in for the villagers.
12) We finally meet Sister Summersisle, played by Ellen Burstyn. She explains to Edward, rather flirtatiously for some reason, that the island is predominately female because they choose the strongest stock. The men are strictly there for breeding purposes and their village relies on the production of honey.
13) Point #7 is starting to make much more sense. Not something I would’ve expected from anything to do with this film.
14) Edward, hearing a girl’s cry and believing it could be his daughter, goes down into a water crypt to look for her. He is then trapped inside it, which nearly kills him.
15) Right about now, those self help tapes that never once get mentioned again after they were purchased would probably come in handy.
16) Following his “What’s the point of this?” near-death experience, Edward comes out pretty pissed off. Ladies and gentlemen, we’re now in for a treat. This is where crazy Nic Cage comes out to play.
17) Edward, in full Nicolas Cage manic fury, must know how his daughter’s doll got burned. “How’d it get burned? How’d it get burned?! HOW’D IT GET BURNED?!!!"
18) The answer is clearly fire. Don’t overthink things, Ed.
19) Edward holds a girl on a bike at gunpoint, ’cause, clearly, the only way to stop a girl on a bike riding rather slowly toward you is by gunpoint.
20) So far, I’ve come to the realization that making any sort of sense out of this film is parallel to a little tyke trying to cram the toy triangle block into the square hole.
21) Edward finally finds the missing pilot of the plane. He now has no hands, no eyes and his mouth his sown shut. It’s safe to say he’s dead.
22) Edward tries to wake him up anyway.
23) Edward, now appearing to have snapped, just starts punching any woman he comes in contact with. Why? I guess his gun’s no longer an effective mean of getting his point across. Why be “Dirty” Harry Callahan when a good hard sock upside the jaw will do just fine?
24) Nicolas Cage in a bear suit, punching women – that’s all I need to say.
25) Bonus Round, sweet! Nicolas Cage karate kicks Leelee Sobieski into a wall. The impact the wall had with her head must’ve caused her to forget about that premonition she had earlier. Uwe Boll’s waiting for ya.
26) Critically acclaimed writer/director Neil LaBute wrote and directed this film.
27) Now running for his life, Nicolas Cage is cutting through the forest, while the group of villagers are chasing him by having to run around the entire forest, yet they beat him to the spot. Whatever health regimen they’re on, it’s working.
28) Sister Summersisle, decked out in William Wallace Braveheart face paint, finally explains that all this time he was chosen to be sacrificed since he’s a blood relative of one of the women and that’s their tradition. Makes absolutely no sense, but whatever, refer back to point #14 and just consider that they tried to kill him before their sacrifice festival.
29) FREEEEEEEEEEEEEEDOM!!!! Just felt like saying that, and it would’ve been fitting to have Cage scream that as he’s getting tortured.
30) Nicolas Cage really hates bees. Find the unrated version of this film and see for yourself.
What does any of the above have to do with each other? I have no idea, but it’s like witnessing a car crash; in fact, just like the one we witnessed at the beginning of the film that has absolutely nothing to do with anything else that follows after it, yet it keeps showing up again and again and again. On top of that, while the original film dealt with the theme of Catholicism vs. Paganism, which created a genuinely creepy vibe, this film’s switch to a battle of the sexes kinda story doesn’t make much sense and isn’t creepy or scary at all, despite the film’s marketing efforts to make it appear so.
Whatever, though, it has Nicolas Cage in a bear suit, punching women. Make as little sense as you want.
For a writer mostly praised for his style of dialogue, similar to that of David Mamet of all people, Neil LaBute has crammed a record number’s worth of “WTF?!!!” moments into a film that quite possibly ended up unwittingly being hailed as the comedy of the year. How the man behind such films as In the Company of Men, Your Friends & Neighbors, The Shape of Things and Nurse Betty thought at any point in writing this remake that he was making anything other than a nonsensical, unintentionally hilarious mess is a mystery. There’s really no scares at all in this intended horror film, but it’s 90 minutes of pure Nicolas Cage goes nuts, so what more do you need?