"Every time I turn my head, something doesn't make sense!" wails Nicolas Cage in Neil LaBute's The Wicker Man. But what really puzzles is why anyone, let alone the director of the excellent In the Company of Men, would want to blot their copybook with such a shambolic remake of Robin Hardy's 1973 horror classic. Laughably bad, direly acted and defiantly non-scary, its car-crash opening becomes an apt symbol for a silly pagan schlocker where everything goes up in smoke.
Tormented by a road accident that saw a mother and her young daughter burned alive, traffic cop Edward Malus (Cage) sees a chance at redemption when an old flame gets in contact asking him to help her locate her kidnapped child. Travelling to the remote Summersisle island, he is shocked to find a secret matriarchal order where ladies rule the roost and blokes are silent serfs. Of the missing kid, however, there is no sign...
"COMICAL LACK OF MENACE OR PERIL"
"Something bad is about to happen - I can feel it!" mutters Malus. He can say that again. From the heavy-handed nods to the infinitely superior original (Edward's ex-fiancée is called Willow Woodward, for example) to the comical lack of menace or peril, this Wicker Man is a calamity from start to finish. To his credit Cage plays it with an admirably straight face, even when mugging a woman for her bear costume. But then he must have known from the beginning he was backing a loser. After all, what self-respecting horror flick carries a 12A certificate?