The Wicker Man (1973)
Director: Robin Hardy
Writer: Anthony Shaffer
Starring: Edward Woodard, Christopher Lee, and Diane Cilento
How I Watched It: Purchased on iTunes
Review By: Griff
Sergeant Howie (Edward Woodard) is called to a remote island to investigate the disappearance of young girl named Rowan. When he arrives on the island no one seems to know who the girl is. They all deny having ever seen her. Howie is a very proper man and a firm believer in procedure and protocol. He is not satisfied with the answers that he is getting from the people in the town and suspects that they might be lying to him.
After doing a bit of investigating, Howie discovers that the young girls name is in the school register. When he starts confronting the residents with this evidence they finally admit that they know who the girl is but they tell Howie that she has died.
Howie also discovers that things are far from normal on the island. After seeing many strange things he meets with the Lord Summerisle (Christopher Lee), the patriach of the island. Summerisle tells Howie that the people of the town are all practitioners of a pagan religon that worships the earth and the sun.
Howie, a staunch christian, is repulsed by what is happening on the island. People are having sex out in the open and running around the island naked. Confused and bewildered by what he has been seeing, he visits the local library to try and find out more about the pagan rituals.
Howie learns that the people of the town have been holding a festival every year for many years. During the festival the people make a sacrifice to their pagan gods so they will look down in favor on them during the fall harvest. Howie becomes convinced that the people of the town have done something to Rowan as part of one of these bizzare festivals. He is more determined then ever to get some answers and find out what is going on. But things are not as they seem and Howie is about to learn some awful truths.
This is truly a strange little movie. It is part horror, part musical, and all weird.The movie is absent of any gore. The scares here are purely on a psychological level and it’s done very effectively. There is a palpable sense of dread that permeates the film. The real menace is the people of the town who have an eerie sense of calm and seem genuinely good natured even though you know they are up to no good.
At times the movie loses some of it’s impact because it is so campy but it is buoyed by excellent performances from both Edward Woodard and Christopher Lee. The Wicker Man is a true cult classic and I highly recommend checking this one out if you haven’t seen it yet. Stay away from the horrible remake with Nicholas Cage however, it is an inferior movie in every way and it will only ruin the ending for you. The Wicker Man get 2 1/2 Guys from me.