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Film / The Wicker Man (2006)

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A Remake of the 1973 horror classic, directed by Neil LaBute and starring Nicolas Cage.

The film concerns police officer Edward Malus, whose ex-fiancée Willow Woodward informs him that her daughter Rowan has disappeared and asks for his assistance in her search. When he arrives at the island where Rowan was last seen, he suspects something sinister about the neo-pagans who reside on the island.


  • Adaptation Name Change: Summerisle is now "Summersisle".
  • Artistic License – Law: Malus would not be allowed to take Willow's case due to the fact that he is her ex-boyfriend which would be personal involvement, especially since her daughter is in danger. This is so because due to the fact that since someone he knows personally is involved, it may result in him using excessive force that he wouldn't do normally if he had never met her until taking her case which he does in fact do; physically assaulting at least two residents of the island, stealing someone's bicycle at gunpoint, and threatening to shoot people.
    • There's also the fact that his allergy to bee venom would likely result in him not being able to take the case since Summersisle is known for beekeeping. Even if he was able to get enough Epi Pens to supply a school, his police insurance wouldn't allow it due to unnecessary risk. It'd be like a cop with a severe peanut allergy taking on a murder case at a peanut butter factory.
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  • Author Appeal: This isn't the first film by Neil LaBute that examined sexism with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer.
  • Big "NO!": Edward when Rowan sets fire to the wicker man and he realizes his fate.
  • Bookends: The film both begins and ends with someone trapped inside something that is burning, someone outside the fire looking in, and the roles are reversed between the two. In the beginning, a car is burning and Cage is trying to save the people trapped inside; at the end, Cage is trapped inside the burning Wicker Man, while the people who orchestrated the original "accident" look on from outside.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Edward is allergic to bees. He is going to an island famed for its honey.
  • Covers Always Lie: This poster makes it look like the movie is about a demonic child (hence the Glowing Eyes). Not only is the girl on the poster not demonic or possessed, but there are zero supernatural elements in the film.
  • Downer Ending: Even more so than the original film which at least made Howie a Doomed Moral Victor. Edward is set-up by his ex-girlfriend and her daughter, and gets sacrificed inside a giant wicker man in flames.
  • Dream Within a Dream: Edward dozes off on the pier while waiting for the seaplane pilot, and has a nightmare in which he finds the dead little girl under the pier. Then he wakes up... to find her corpse in his lap. Then he wakes up again.
  • Gambit Roulette: The islander's plan would have fallen apart before it started, if Edward hadn't been knocked unconscious while trying to save the two women in the burning car, allowing them to escape unseen. The Plan only becomes more dependent on luck from that point on, considering how much of it required him to notice the right thing or even be facing the right direction at the right time.
  • Gender Flip: Lord Summerisle was rewritten as Sister Summersisle.
  • Hollywood Law: Malus is operating outside of his jurisdiction, as he is a member of the California Highway Patrol and Summersisle is just a short distance away from Seattle.
  • Luke, You Are My Father: Willow reveals to Malus that yes, Rowan is his daughter, after he gets suspicious. The islanders apparently believe it was necessary to have a sacrifice with a blood connection to one of their people.
  • Makes Just as Much Sense in Context: Even knowing how all the Memetic Mutation stuff fits into the narrative doesn't make it any more logical or understandable.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • The protagonist Edward Malus, a lawman who spends the movie investigating a pagan cult, may be named for the Malleus Malificarum, a treatise on prosecuting witches published in the 15th century.
    • Alternatively, Malus is the Latin word for apple, and is used in the taxonomy of the species.
    • "Malus" has also been proposed to be a portmanteau of "male" and "phallus", both of which are mentioned quite a bit in the film. As such, Edward Malus ends up becoming the male sacrifice the cult was looking for.
  • Milkman Conspiracy: Malus arrives to the island and comes to head with a terrifying misandrist pagan cult of... beekeepers?
  • Mythology Gag: A subtle one (if you can call anything in this movie "subtle"). As mentioned above, "Malus" is the Latin word for "apple", possibly referencing the 1973 original, where Lord Summerisle's cult carried out human sacrifices to ensure a successful apple harvest.
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • Edward barges onto the island and tries to throw his police weight around, with no plan, no actual authority to enforce the non-existent plan, and no backup. Not even a token visit to the local police to explain why he's there.
    • Again, he's allergic to bees, yet goes to an island famous for...beekeeping. Apparently without any medication.
    • Even though Edward is bullying the citizens of the island with no back-up (or any apparent way of communicating with his superiors to ask for back-up), he still manages to ignore and overlook clear signs of evidence. When he sees two women carrying a corpse-shaped, slightly-moving bag with red liquid dripping from it, he just gets spooked by it and lets them walk away with it.
    • Knowing full well he's on an island full of Obviously Evil crackpots who clearly don't like him, he continuously puts himself in even more dangerous positions—the most mind-numbingly stupid example is probably his dip in the easily-covered cistern (not to mention, in the easily-locked tomb, though that doesn't end up being relevant—probably because nobody was actually trying to kill him yet).
    • Asking Rowan to put down the flaming torch she's been given to light the Wicker Man. Naturally, she does. With predictable results.
  • Unexpected Virgin: Subverted. The virgin aspect was removed due to LaBute considering the notion of Cage playing a virgin ridiculous. They gave his character an allergy to bees instead. Not quite the same.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Sending elderly ladies flying into walls with karate-side kicks, in fact. Cage's character punches one woman while wearing a suit and tie, punches another while wearing a bear costume, kicks Leelee Sobieski, and bikejacks another woman at gunpoint. Which has all been condensed here. In said character's defense, he thinks they're all conspiring to burn a little girl alive. That's what they want him to think.