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Still shot from the movie: The Wicker Man.

The Wicker Man

Nicolas Cage plays a policeman pulled into a missing person investigation when a former girlfriend phones and pleas for his help in locating her lost daughter. The promising premise gets just as lost when the plot plods into pagan rituals and human sacrifice. Get the movie review and more. »

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Overall: C-
Violence: C
Sexual Content: B
Language: C-
Drugs/Alcohol: B-
Theater Release: 31 Aug 2006
Video Release: 18 Dec 2006
MPAA Rating: PG-13
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Should you be afraid of The Wicker Man? I'm a bit of a wimp when it comes to horror movies, but in this case, I found myself laughing more than I have during any of the comedies I've seen this summer. And no, this production was not intended to be funny.

Nicolas Cage (who also takes a producing credit on this film) plays Edward Malus, a California highway cop who takes a stress leave after witnessing a horrible car crash. But his rest is interrupted when he receives a letter from a former girlfriend. In the note, Willow (Kate Beahan) pleads with the officer to come to her home on a small piece of land off the coast of Washington to investigate the disappearance of her daughter. Felling morally obligated, Malus makes his way to Summersisle.

On the private island, he meets a group of locals that redefine the term "peculiar." Mainly women, they are anything but helpful in his quest. Finally discovering Willow, now known as Sister Willow (a title also used by all of the other women in the commune), he thinks he may finally get some answers to his many questions. However, it doesn't take long for him to realize this is the last source from which he can expect to find truth.

As poorly made as this movie is, this may prove to be the least of worries for parents. Family viewers are more likely to be concerned by the aforementioned traffic accident, which is repeated several times, as well as the theme. The latter deals with pagan rituals, human sacrifices (one being depicted), and a plot involving selective human breeding (jars containing human embryos are shown). Residents of this imaginary matriarchal society support these concepts without facing any consequence for their actions.

Fortunately, if you decide to pass on this film, you can assure the kids they're not missing much. This contrived yarn is full of overworked performances, unnecessary dialogue, illogical actions, and a musical score that serves as a blaring foghorn to alert you when to be scared.

Nearing the end of this marathon, with a haunting melody pounding, Cage's character emerges from a dank dark well in which he has been mysteriously imprisoned. By this point he's spent what seems like days dealing with strange women, a couple of zombie-like twins (Jacqueline and Joyce Robbins), and other incidents that would have sent you and I swimming for the mainland. Dripping and cold, he utters the profound (and obvious) phrase, "Something bad is about to happen. I can feel it." Let that be a warning for all who consider seeing The Wicker Man.

The Wicker Man is rated PG-13: disturbing images and violence, language and thematic issues.

Cast: Nicholas Cage
Studio: 2006 Warner Brothers

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About the Reviewer: Rod Gustafson

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