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DVD Reviews:  The Wicker Man (The Director's Cut)

The Final Say!

Feature Score:
DVD Extras Score

Reviewed by Yianni Pak
Distributed by:
Universal Pictures
Running Time: 99 Minutes

I first saw this movie about ten years ago, and didnít like it. But now Iím a bit older and a bit more mature, and I can appreciate that itís actually a rather well crafted and engrossing flick. Itís always been billed as a ďhorrorĒ movie, but in actual fact it also has a huge element of ďdetective storyĒ thrown in as well. 

Edward Woodward plays Sergeant Neil Howie, a devout Christian policeman who is sent to investigate the disappearance of a young girl on the mysterious Summerisle. From the moment he arrives, he finds the locals to be incredibly unhelpful, with even the young girlís mother denying her existence in the first place. Itís clear to Howie and the audience that something strange is going on in Summerisle, but no-one appears to want to help him. 

Frustrated by the complete lack of any form of assistance from the islanders, with his conservative Christian sensibilities offended by their pagan Mayday rites, Howie continues his investigation into the girlís disappearance. The mystery continues to deepen as he explores further, and the pagan festivities reach fever pitch as mayday approaches, leading finally to the films shocking climax. 

For a movie that was filmed in the early seventies on an apparently shoestring budget, the DVD of The Wicker Man looks extremely good. The image IS a little bit grainy, but overall itís rather splendid. The Scottish locations are picturesque and well shot, with the quaintness of Summerisle well realized on film. The performances from all actors are commendable, especially Woodward as the straight-as-a-line policeman. Christopher Lee is also brilliant as the benevolent and fatherly, yet slightly insane, Lord Summerisle. 

The main extra feature is a retrospective documentary called The Wicker Man Enigma, which is an interesting and insightful look into the work that went into making and releasing the film, and also the effort involved in the re-release. Also included is a television interview with Christopher Lee, theatrical trailers and TV spots, and some talent biographies. Overall, a very nice selection of extra features indeed. 

The Wicker Man is a highly engrossing mystery/horror/detective film, with some very interesting pagan imagery and a good twist at the end. Well directed and acted, itís definitely a worthy addition to most any DVD collection. Please check it out.

The Wicker Man Features

  • The Wicker Man Enigma

  • Interview with Christopher Lee

  • Theatrical Trailer

  • TV and Radio Spots

  • Talent Biographies

  • DVD Rom Content


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