To his credit, Neil Labute kept the original ending from the original 1975 masterpiece, and that’s something to look forward to. Why should you watch it if the film basically follows the original almost down to the tee? Well, there’s no reason. Morbid curiosity, watching Nicolas Cage continue his monotone dialoguing, or the whimsical scenery, you’ll find a reason. But what’s lost is the dark humor the original maintained, and that’s a shame. Now our detective is no longer a god-fearing bible thumping intruder who stomps around wielding his cross, he’s now just a moody, sad intruder who insinuates himself into this man hating village of women.
All the religious context and subtext are gone in this neutered version of the classic, and that’s what makes this just another glossy pointless remake. This time, Detective Ed comes to the Summer Isle to look for the lost daughter of an ex-girlfriend. His ex-girlfriend Willow (who seemingly does nothing but stand around in the woods) has lost her daughter Rowan, and after a bad roadside crash, Ed comes to the island to make up for his mistake in letting the victims die. The worst most irritating change to “The Wicker Man” is that it turns into another man-hating commentary. The writers take a wonderful commentary about the lunacy of religion and the consequences for one religious denomination attempting to intrude its way into another’s, into a message about this “opposite” society in which men are breeders, and enemies, and women are the dominant species.
It’s now this man invading the society of women, and how they ultimately respond to him and his aggression. The message is vain and rather forced, and makes it hard to sit through. This remake is also boring, it’s very boring, and there’s simply no tension or suspense, or any sort of imagery to remember. It’s simply based around Ed staggering around the island like a numbskull, following these poorly staged dream sequences that ultimately amount to nothing. Meanwhile, he acts the very opposite of how a police officer would when investigating a murder.
Who travels somewhere to investigate a crime without bringing a partner, or at least back up? And then there are moments of desperation; scenarios that make zero sense, Nicolas Cage karate kicking cultists, symbolism that means basically nothing, a cheap gimmicky last scene featuring Jason Ritter and James Franco for some reason, and a climax that’s not as shocking as the original’s because by then most of you would have already fallen asleep. Now we have “The Omen,” and “The Wicker Man” to add as only a few of the utterly pointless, and boring remakes of 2006. Void of surprises, Christopher Lee, religious subtext, and the dark humor that made its predecessor so rich and classic, this new version is laughable, awful, and downright ridiculous.