What’s up, weirdos? Welcome to Awfully Good, where we celebrate movies that suck! With January being The Return month here at Nightmare, it only seemed appropriate to take a look at one of the worst remakes ever made (remade?). That’s right, tonight’s feature presentation is the 2006 The Wicker Man, starring Nicolas Cage as Nicolas Cage! This wackadoo update of the classic 70s folk horror tale might be the worst film on Cage’s résumé, but we’ll get to that in a second.
First, a couple of ground rules. 1) Just because we say a movie is “bad” or “cheesy” or “the worst film on Cage’s résumé,” that doesn’t mean we hate a film. This is all about finding the joy in trash, not taking cheap shots at an easy target. 2) If you’re allergic to bees you’ve just gotta straight-up close this window right now, I’m not taking any chances on this one. Now that that’s taken care of, let’s dive into The Wicker Man!
“This wackadoo update of the classic 70s folk horror tale might be the worst film on Cage’s résumé…“
The original The Wicker Man from 1973 is a contemplative, often surreal story of a small village serving ancient pagan gods and a detective’s crisis of faith. The 2006 remake is a movie where Nicolas Cage dresses up in a bear costume and punches a lady in the face. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Look, I’m not a professor. I can’t say with full certainty that this is the “best” or “worst” or “strangest” Nicolas Cage movie, but I do think it’s the Cage-est Nicolas Cage movie.
Everything you expect from one of the distinctive actor’s films is amplified in The Wicker Man. Do you think that in most of his scenes, Nic Cage is four beers deep? He’s like eight beers deep in The Wicker Man. Does he scream a lot in other movies? He screams over every other characters’ lines in The Wicker Man. Is he a generally sweaty performer? Girl he is soaked in The Wicker Man. Cage drips across the countryside village, alternating between slurring and shouting his words. As a sweaty dude who also alternates between slurring and shouting, I have to say that Nic Cage’s performance here is 100% true to life. A+
The plot of the 2006 The Wicker Man is similar to the 1973 original. A police officer goes to an island village to find a missing girl. In the original it’s some type of European (I don’t know anything about European history or geography. Or chemistry, but that doesn’t really apply here), but in the remake it’s off the coast of the Pacific Northwest. In the 2006 remake, Nicolas Cage stars as Nicolas Cage. Hack Alert: I used this same joke in my Drive Angry article, but it applies at least as much here. Nicolas Cage meets with the town matriarch, a gender-swapped interpretation of the role that Christopher Lee plays in the original. The town matriarch, who seems to be both a political and religious leader, explains that the community relies on producing and exporting honey, but their honeybees have dried up recently.
As Nicolas Cage investigates the island and looks for the missing girl, he starts pulling all the threads of the mystery. The honey thing is a strange detail to bring up if it doesn’t tie into the investigation. Everyone in the village shares a nontraditional view of death and they worship the old gods. Are they planning to sacrifice this girl to appease these Druidic forces of nature, yielding a bountiful honey harvest in the coming season? I mean, that sounds like a reasonable conclusion to draw based on the evidence at hand! How can Nicolas Cage stop it?
“The original The Wicker Man from 1973 is a […] story of a small village serving ancient pagan gods […]. The 2006 remake is a movie where Nicolas Cage dresses up in a bear costume and punches a lady in the face.“
I don’t wanna spoil anything, even though there’s a pretty good chance you’ve already seen a climactic moment of The Wicker Man as a reaction gif, but let’s just say Nicolas Cage refuses to “grin and bear it.” That is, he dresses up in a bear costume and infiltrates a religious ceremony. He blows his cover by running up to one of the village people and straight up clocking her. It’s one of the all-time greatest unintentionally funny scenes in cinema history. Will Nicolas Cage punch out the entire village without losing the bear costume? Will he find the missing girl? Will he punch the missing girl, still dressed in the bear costume?! Find out by watching The Wicker Man!
Before the credits roll, the film is dedicated to Johnny Ramone. You might be wondering what the legendary punk rock guitarist has to do with this production, especially since he died two years before The Wicker Man was released. According to IMDb trivia, he introduced Nicolas Cage to the original film. This is all his fault!
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