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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.

It is best remembered for its moments of unintentional hilarity coming from Cage than for actually being scary - unlike the original film.


  • 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.
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  • Chekhov's Gun: Edward is allergic to bees. He is going to an island famed for its honey.
  • Chewing the Scenery: Nicolas Cage, all the time.
  • Corpsing: Near the end, Ellen Burstyn can barely keep a straight face. Considering the dialogue and the Braveheart-esque face paint she's wearing, you can hardly blame her.
  • 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.
  • Creepy Twins: Though unusually for Creepy Twins, they're really old ladies, not kids.
  • 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.
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  • 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.
  • The Hero Dies: Like in the original, Edward himself at the end.
  • 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.
  • Honey Trap: Ironically, the way the women of the island lure men in to be sacrificed.
  • Hero Stole My Bike: "Step away from the bike!"
  • Lady Land: The island.
  • Large Ham: Nicolas Cage. One can easily suspect he knew how awful the film was and overacted on purpose.
  • 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.
  • Obviously Evil: One of the main criticisms is that unlike the 1973 film, the Summersisle inhabitants are obviously creepy. The reason this is an issue is because it makes the plot-twist at the end less of a surprise.
  • Plot Allergy: Most of the story takes place on an island famous for beekeeping and Edward happens to have a bee allergy. He doesn't appear to bring any medicine or backup with him to prepare for this.
  • Police Brutality: Downplayed by Edward, who completely walks all over the people of Summersisle. He barges into houses, steals things, and even assaults several people. To add insult to injury, he's outside of his jurisdiction.
  • Related in the Adaptation: Unlike in the original, Rowan is the daughter of the cop who goes searching for her.
  • Scary Stinging Swarm: NOT THE BEES!!!
  • Shout-Out:
    • Nightmares about blonde girls in red raincoats are a reference to Don't Look Now.
    • A Tuckerization of Edward Woodward, who played Sergeant Howie in the original film, is split between two characters: Edward Malus and Rowan Woodward.
  • Straw Feminist: The cult. Particularly egregious in light of the Gaelic paganism portrayed in the original, which explicitly stated that Man and Woman were indispensable to each other. On the other hand, these guys were American and probably got their ideas about whatever brand of Celtic paganism they're supposedly following off the internet.
  • Stupid Evil: The cult comes off as this, in stark contrast to the original film.
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • Edward, Cage's character - he 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.


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