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