Director – Robin Hardy
Cast – Edward Woodward, Christopher Lee, Diane Cilento, Britt Ekland, Ingrid Pitt, Lindsay Kemp, Russell Waters
Release Year – 1973
Reviewed by John of the Dead
After years of hearing about this film, and hating it’s 2006 remake, I was finally able to watch this infamous that that I’d heard so many great things about. Given Hollywood’s recent love for remaking great horror films like Halloween and The Hills Have Eyes, it came to not surprise to me when this film’s remake hit theaters. While I can see without a doubt that the 2006 remake of this film is one of the worst movies I have ever seen, this film is far from that. If you were as unlucky as I and viewed the remake without viewing the original first, do not let that keep you from this film. This 1973 version of The Wicker Man is one of the most unique and enjoyable films I have ever seen, and includes an ending so horrifying it will stay with you forever.
This film follows a police sergeant sent to a secluded island village to investigate the disappearance of a young girl. His search proves futile as the odd villagers have never seen nor heard of her, so they say. The sergeant is no fool(so he says) and sensing a cover-up, he pursues his investigation. The persistent sergeant soon realizes that the only thing weirder than the disappearance of the young girl is the rituals and doctrines these villagers follow.
Oh how I love this film! Right from the get-go this film engages the viewer with it’s atmosphere and direction. Director Robin Hardy struck gold and did a superb job with this film’s pacing and getting the most out of his actors. From beginning to end this film paced very well and never lost my interest. The scenery is awesome, and is complemented by a pleasant yet untrustingly eerie score that sets the tone for the events shown in the film. As much as I credit Mr. Hardy for this masterpiece of a film, writer Anthony Shaffer gets his fair share of the glory. Adapted from David Pinner’s novel “Ritual”, Mr. Shaffer incorporated awesome dialogue and perfectly wrote in just the right amount of pleasant suspense to keep you hooked until this film’s awesome climax.
The story for this film is an interesting one. Sure we have seen plots involving someone looking for a missing person, but for this film’s time it was quite unheard of for a devout Christian protagonist to be deceived by a sexually perverse pagan village with an interesting way of curing their crop drought. To make things even more awesome this film co-stars the legendary Christopher Lee as “Lord Summerisle”, the law and supreme ruler of the island. His performance is superb, as is our lead actor Edward Woodward as Sergeant Howie. :Edward Woodward recently passed away, but his memory will live on:
I honestly have no complaints with this film, but I can see how some would not really refer to this film as a “horror” film. In my opinion I will always and forever refer to this film as a horror film because that is this film’s intention, to shock and horrify the viewer. Sure we don’t get a lot of blood and guts or an unstoppable villain, but that is what I really enjoyed about this film. You know something is wrong with these villagers right from the beginning and you are left with the same growing thought in your head until the film’s epic climax, which is think is one of the greatest horror climaxes of all time.
Overall, this is an amazing film that I recommend to everyone that reads this review. This film I unique, beautiful, and is sure to leave a lasting impression on your mind.