It’s only mid-April, but Wicker Tree is my clear front runner for worst movie of the year. So, congrats, Wicker Tree. You suck something fierce. It’s a little mind-boggling that Robin Hardy, writer/director of the original Wicker Man, decided to create a companion for his legendary film. Maybe Nic Cage and the bees caused him many restless nights. Or maybe he legitimately thought after nearly 40 years it was time for an update. Whatever the reason, his attempt at a spiritual counterpart could not get it more wrong. Could not. I repeat. COULD. NOT.
Country singer Poptart, Beth Boothby (Brittania Nicol), is a born-again Christian who, apparently after spending some time in Jesus Camp (now there’s a scary movie), decides to spread the gospel to the heathens of Ireland. Beth used to be a slutzo Xtina-style singer, but thanks to Jesus now chooses to sing about how great God is. Along for the ride is her boyfriend, Steve (Henry Garret), also a born again convert and true Texas Cowboy (ludicrous European idea of what a cowboy is). The couple wear purity rings. How quaint and idyllic. Along with the two lovebirds, every character in the film is a paper-thin cutout made of awful. A side note to foreigners, no one in America acts like the morons depicted in this movie.
After Beth sings a diddy in an Irish church, this is a cult-worshiping pagan horror musical after all, her and her Cowboy BF are recruited by Sir Lachlan Morrison (Graham McTavish) to come preach in his tiny, weird village. Right away the movie gets illogical. For starters, Beth has no problem accepting the role of the May Queen for an upcoming festival, which is clearly explained to her as pagan worship about one minute before she agrees. Her rationale? The dress is fabulous.
The cockamamy side stories continue to veer all over the place. There’s some nonsense about how the town’s women are infertile due to a nearby nuclear plant (ran, ironically, by the head of the town), but can get preggers by sacrificing idiots from Texas. Beth struggles with her hoe-baggy past vs. her newfound Jesus Love (this is more ridiculous than it sounds). A detective, whose point in the movie besides a call back to the original film is unknown, attempts to dig up info on the cult. And the cult’s resident slut is slutty and naturally targets Cowboy Steve. And, of course, there is rampant and incredibly obvious cult activity (That Beth and Steve are oblivious of) going on as the town prepares for its big burning man festival.
At no point is there any sense of dread in the film. None whatsoever. There are, however, plenty of honky tonk songs and random pagan chanting. The film attempts to be a comedic piece of social commentary, but ultimately falls flat on that front as well. So, what’s left is a boring bunch of cliches that induce no restlessness, no tension, nor any laughs. Simply put, it’s bad.
At least the remake has Nic Cage punching a woman while wearing a bear suit. Which is far more entertaining than anything Wicker Tree has to offer.
Snore Factor: ZZZZZ