The Wicker Man, directed by Robin Hardy and starring Ed Woodward and Christopher Lee, is considered a cult film, though after watching it I’m not sure what about it makes it so, besides giving a decent look at a fictional 20th century cult in and of itself, but hey, that’s what makes a cult film a cult film, the inexplicability. Woodward plays Sergeant Howie, a police officer called in to the fictional Summerisle to investigate the disappearance of a local girl. Obviously, things turn out to be much more complicated, and the film takes a fairly straightforward path along the narrative of mystery-horror to the inevitable and highly memorable conclusion.
Pretty much as soon as he arrives, it is immediately evident that there is something up, mostly with the people and their seeming reticence to admit any knowledge of the missing girl. Upon investigating further, the devoutly Christian Howie is stunned to find a fully operating and integrated pagan society living in the 20th century, and he becomes convinced the missing girl is to be used in some horrific fashion in a pagan ritual. The film is modestly shot; it’s not about the technicality of the film rather than the story and the universe we inhabit. Above all, this is a film of religious devotion, and not of the mainstream (at least in the film, of Christian) kind. The story itself is one of fanaticism, and one man’s determination to right what he sees as a sinking ship, and save what little humanity he can from a heathen place.
As I mentioned before, the film is mostly remembered for its ending, which if you haven’t yet been spoiled I will not be the one to do so, but rest assured that even if you already know how it ends, the film is still an entertaining mystery/thriller, with a healthy dose of paranoia thrown in for seasoning. It’s an otherwise average film made memorable by the content it presents; that’s really all I can say about it. It’s short, so it’s certainly not a waste of time if you do decide to watch it, and you won’t be disappointed, but don’t expect greatness from this one.
Arbitrary Rating: 7/10