Director: Neil LaBute
Stars: Nicolas Cage, Ellen Burstyn, Molly Parker, Kate Beahan, Frances Conroy, Leelee Sobieski, Diane Delano
A critic's take: “LaBute excises all of the pagan perversity that made the first Wicker Man such a peculiar but engaging affair. Gone are the risqué sex scenes, Britt Ekland's carnal dance and the unsettling undercurrents, replaced with drippy dialogue, put-downs, and false scares.” - Bill Muller (The Arizona Republic)
Why it's bad (meaning good): We’d like to think that ancient Pagan gods are to blame for director Neil LaBute’s ill-advised remake of the masterful 1972 British horror classic The Wicker Man, having put a hex on the filmmaker for even daring to redo such a sacred property. But, no, it’s all LaBute’s fault, since he both wrote the film’s lame-brained script and directed this stinker without a shred of scary moviemaking panache.
Mr. LaBute did flex one stroke of pure genius, however: He cast Nicolas Cage. Playing an investigator looking for his long-lost daughter on a secluded island full of wacky, cultist women, Cage gives one of his all-time great batshit crazy performances, selling every poorly written line and ridiculous scene with laughable vigor—nothing much in cinema beats the sight of Cage snuffing a lady while wearing a bear suit, or karate-kicking another chick into a wall with the force of Jet Li on steroids.
Upon first viewing, The Wicker Man is especially painful for horror buffs who swear by director Robin Hardy’s ’73 original, but even the staunchest of cineastes can’t deny the wholly inept film’s hackneyed allure.