Why The Wicker Man Remake Doesn’t Work

I just saw the remake of The Wicker Man. Sort of. I wasn’t paying that much attention. It didn’t seem to require that much.

I consider myself a fan of the original, though I think it has limited appeal. It is a 2 hour shaggy dog story, more or less.

But it works because Edward Woodward, representing the forces of law and justice and goodness, is such an insufferable prig, his fate seems fitting. You have little empathy for him, despite how you’re “supposed” to feel. It is, essentially, a subversive movie–but truly subversive, not fashionably chic peace-love-and-understanding subversive.

The remake doesn’t touch that. The pagan society has been replaced by a matriarchal society, and that’s barely even controversial. (Just ask Sally “There would be no wars” Field.) Far worse, though, is that Nic Cage is motivated by love for a woman who treated him badly and concern for a child he’s never met.

His fate not only seems less than fitting, it seems mean. It becomes a slow moving horror film that’s not really redeemed by the ending. (The original was a slow moving suspense film that turned into horror/black humor.)

I’m still not sure why they wanted to remake it in the first place.

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