The Wicker Man is a British horror film directed by Robin Hardy. The film centres on Sergeant Neil Howie (Edward Woodward), who travels to the remote Summerisle to try and find a missing girl, and once he arrives, he finds that the locals have abandoned Christianity and have embraced a pagan religion that involves human sacrifice.
This film is the stuff of filmmaking legend not just in the horror genre, but in British cinema in general. It is one of the best UK horror exports. The reason why it is so revered is because it plays on the fear of ‘others’: people who aren’t like us, and in this case in positions them as a direct threat to Christianity. There is a shocking and unpredictable nature to this film which is accompanied by a creep building sense of fear and permeates the whole film.
To me this film reminded me somewhat of Children of the Corn as they both had an underlying sense of something isn’t right here and has the antagonists worship some other evil deity, that is proven to be real to some extent. The Wicker Man also plays on the idea of being single minded, the protagonist is so convinced that his Christian way is right that he is blind to everything going on around him; a mistake that proves to be fatal.
The late great Christopher Lee appears in this film and he is phenomenal. Not only is he terrifying but he has that cult leader quality; the ability to convince others to do what he says through sheer magnetism. Lee proves his worth as a horror master a veteran of the genre, his Lord Summerisle should give you goose bumps.
There are some explicit scenes here and there that serve a purpose narratively but do feel a little over the top. The thing about these scenes is that they seem to come out of nowhere, they serve the purpose of showing how the pagan society clashes with the protagonist’s Christian views and can be viewed as quite shocking, especially when the film came out.
Overall this film is a masterpiece of horror filmmaking, it has been copied into modern horror (here’s looking at you Midsommar) because there is a timeless quality to this story that will never go out of fashion. A Must Watch!
A Fantastic Culture Clash.
A Compelling Mystery.
A Very Unique Identity.
Great Atmosphere And Horror.
Reviewed By Luke