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The Wicker Tree Reviews

Page 1 of 5
Luke B

Super Reviewer

February 4, 2012
The Wicker Man is one of the greatest and most original films you will ever see. For years I have anticipated this spiritual sequel, and so it's no surprise that I was very disappointed. It seems as though, despite years of rumours and hardwork, once Hardy got around to making it, all the life had been sucked from him and the film. The Wicker Tree sees two born again christians travel from America to Scotland to preach the word of Jesus. Unbeknownst to them, this is a place of pagan rituals and sacrifice. This film was certainly trying to parody moments from its predecessor at times. With some heavy handed moments of comedy. Unfortunately, The Wicker Man is one of those films where you laugh nervously at it. It may be easy to lampoon, but it also has fear interlaced with the weird. Here, everything seems slightly amateur and repetitive. The score has nothing on the original, and the songs are barely memorable. We are also given two protagonists that we don't care about. They are comedic cliches of how super American christians are. All they want to do is spread the word of Jesus in a cheesy cornball mannor. Unlike Howie, who was a devote Christian fighting to find a missing girl. The Wicker Man seemed to triumph despite its flaws. Those are what added to the memorable quirks which happened organically. Here they are forced into the film, which means that some actors seem unsure as to whether this is a comedy, horror, satire, or thriller. It's none of these. I may revisit it one day without the expectatons, but it makes me want to watch The Wicker Man again.

Super Reviewer

February 20, 2012
Ask most horror fans for their ten favorite movies of the genre and chances are Hardy's 1972 masterpiece "The Wicker Man" will be on the list somewhere. The Nic Cage starring 2006 remake is frequently cited as possibly the worst remake ever. Hardy's follow up has a lot more in common with the remake than his own original, not least in terms of quality.
Not a remake, not a sequel, this can best be described as a cash-in, a film-maker desperately living off a forty year old career highpoint. Hardy has only made one film in the intervening years, the 1986 Irish set thriller "The Fantasist", and on the evidence of this that's probably a wise choice.
This time the protagonists are a born-again Texan couple, sent to Scotland to spread the word of God. Where the original explored the clash between Pagan and Christian beliefs, this feels more like an attack on America and it's perceived religious fundamentalism. That Europe is more secular than the States is frankly a myth. I live in a European country where it's illegal to sell alcohol on Good Friday, the state broadcaster issues a call to prayer at six pm every evening, abortion and gay marriage are illegal, and in December you're bombarded by images of Christmas every way you turn. Stateside however, people are encouraged to keep their beliefs to themselves, in many states you can't even use the term "Merry Christmas" in government buildings. When Tim Tebow mentions God America reacts angrily, yet in Europe soccer players can perform religious rituals in the middle of a stadium and nobody bats an eyelid.
This takes a broad comic approach to the subject, as if the original was "Airport" and this is "Airplane". The whole thing feels like a "Carry On" movie shot on the set of the UK soap "Emmerdale". Christopher Lee has a short cameo which feels shoe-horned in and I can imagine his horror at seeing the final product, he always cited the original as the best film of his career. There are a couple of effective shots at the climax which hint at the potential this had but it's a potential Hardy just doesn't seem willing to fulfill.
Alec B

Super Reviewer

April 25, 2012
I wouldn't say I'm a huge fan of Hardy's original 'Wicker Man' from the 70s, however I appreciate its originality and very disturbing ending. "The Wicker Tree" may not be as downright awful as the Neil LaBute/Nicholas Cage remake from a few years ago, but its still pretty bad. While the original was fairly outrageous and campy, Hardy (and his screenwriter Anthony Shaffer) made a pretty effective argument for how religion, regardless of the specific belief system, is used to manipulate the masses. Hardy seemingly has no message this time outside of "American southern born-again Christians sure are gullible and stupid!". Its neither interesting nor particularly scary.
David S

Super Reviewer

April 30, 2012
If you're a fan of the original 'The Wicker Man' then avoid this film like the plague. In fact if you're a fan of good film-making avoid this film outright! It's hard to comprehend that this came from the same director of the classic original but this film bears scant similarities to that great film. For obvious reasons there are no returning members from 'The Wicker Man' (apart from a brief cameo from an obviously frail Lee that seems to be there to show that he obviously approved of this disaster) and we are no longer set on the original island. Instead we are set on the mainland in Scotland with a completely new set of nutters and instead of a chaste policeman we have two stupid American evangelists who have been lured there under false pretences.

The whole film is a mess with some actors giving obviously comic performances and some just giving plain bad ones. The young American actors are just plain annoying and the pacing for the whole film is distinctly lacking. The soundtrack is also appaling. Only McTavish and Weeks seem to be giving it their full efforts but they are fighting alosing battle with this material.

Please, please, please don't be tempted to seek this out for curiosity factor. It's a travesty of film and should not be uttered in the same breath as that other great film. Shame on Mr Hardy.
May 4, 2011
Less a sequel, more a remake. Actually... no, that's not right. Just more of the same. Right down to the dour ending. You're only allowed one of those per series!
August 24, 2012
Robin Hardy return's to make a sequel of sorts to the original Wicker Man from the 70's with more of strangeness than frights
May 12, 2012
Beth Boothby (Brittania Nicol) is a former country singer who's now turned Christian and is about to embark on a two-year mission's trip to Scotland with her boyfriend Steve (Henry Garrett).

Upon arriving in Scotland, they're greeted as celebrities, and Beth is even given the honor of being the May Queen at their annual harvest festival. But what the two Americans don't know is that they're being primed for the slaughter, because the town needs children, and by offering a sacrifice they believe this can be achieved.

Robin Hardy (who directed the original 1973 cult classic "The Wicker Man") returns with what I'm sure he felt was another great outing into the "Wicker" series, but ultimately falls completely flat. The leads are horrible, the story is pointless and confusing, and the ending didn't make a lick of sense. Plus they highly advertised that Christopher Lee would reprise his role from the original, which he does - for about five minutes. The rest of the film is just a pile of puke that shouldn't have been made.
April 27, 2012
If you know me, you know I adore Robin Hardy's The Wicker Man, and I have been dying to see this follow-up. Sadly, I was pretty disappointed in it. Beautifully filmed in parts, The Wicker Tree's story runs parallel to the original film: in this film, a reformed Christian country music singer and her fiance travel to Scotland to spread the Gospel. That already sounds a little dumber than the original premise, but I could have let that slide. Unfortunately, the film lacks the slow build-up of surreal malice, the complex and often erotic depiction of sexual desire and repression, and the brutally unforgettable finale. The Wicker Tree features one truly brilliant sequence that directly explores the relation between the idea of Christ's sacrifice and pagan rituals. It is the one great moment of the film, but sadly the movie fizzles from there into a wimpy ending that pales in comparison to the original.
May 6, 2012
When I first heard that Robin Hardy was going to make a sequel to his celebrated 1973 cult classic "The Wicker Man" I first became very skeptical as any self respecting fan would. The original "Wicker Man" is a film I hold very close to my heart and one of my all time favorite films. It's been almost 40 years and sometimes good things are just better left alone and the dreadful 2006 remake help prove the saying to be mostly true. The film actually feel from my thought process as it was going through development hell for a number of years and I was actually shocked to see it at a local store as a U.S. distributor finally picked it up. Curiosity got the best of me and though it doesn't come near the impact of "The Wicker Man", it actually wasn't entirely dreadful offering enough differences in plot and approach to make it worth a watch for fans.

The plot has a cowboy Christian couple from Texas (one being a famous country singer) heading to a remote Scottish island (that has been having missing persons epidemic for the last 40 years) in order to convert the Pagan heathens to see the light. People who have seen the original film (and god forbid it's shit remake) know the island's deadly secret and soon our quirky couple we find out there will be blood for sacrifice.

Hardy's approach to this sequel and spiritual successor is far more laid back with his tongue firmly placed in his cheek. Sure there are moments of creepiness but overall its far more of a satirical affair with plenty of black humor. Like the original there is still plenty bizarre eroticism to make viewers to raise their eyebrows and keep interested. Christopher Lee, star of the original, makes a brief appearance but health problems kept him from having a larger role but Graham McTavish is evil enough to fill those large shoes as the intriguing leader of the pagans.

The major problem with "The Wicker Tree" is that it's pace moves up too fast lacking the subtle eerie build-up of the original. What's even more of a disappointment is that the tense, haunting ending everyone has come to expect is lacking and by the end the film peters out leaving the audience drained and thoroughly disappointed with the wrap-up.

The basics of the plot shares many similarities to "The Wicker Man" but the approach and tone is different enough to help it stand on its own and make it worth a watch for fans and the curious. Hardy again has created an entertaining picture looking into modern day Paganism and I dug the many moments of black humor, but the poor build-up to a less-than-stellar ending will ensure "The Wicker Tree" will always be condemned to wither in the shadow of the mighty "Wicker Man" and it isn't enough to wash away the bad memories of the Nick Cage remake, which ironically most people will probably think this is a sequel too.
April 28, 2012
I like it to a point. If you like Wicker man you will problem like this movie,but I hated the Wicker man that why I said I liked it to a point. It is a lot better than the Wicker Man.
March 13, 2012
Barely better than the Nicholas Cage remake of the original Wicker Man. This film loses the mystery and interest that the original Wicker Man gave audience. Sometimes the director tried too hard to change the story into a comedy.. much it is not
Dave J
February 11, 2014
Tuesday, February 11, 2014

(2012) The Wicker Tree

Straight-to-rental, made with a much lower budget from Robin Hardy's own film called "The Wicker Man". All I can say is that viewers haven't learned anything more then we first started. Co-written and adapted from Tom Hardy's personal novel centering on young Texas couple of Beth Boothby(Brittania Nicol) and Steve Thomson (Henry Garrett) sent on a mission from her church to preach her Christian faith to a small Scottish town unaware that the townspeople have intentions of their own. Beth also happens to be a popular country singer from where she live who can also sing some Christian gospel.

What's totally idiotic about this film is that friends and relatives who're close to Beth and Steve 'don't' even contact her at all to see how she's doing. It's like this entire Scottish townspeople are people still living in the turn of the century, while the people of Texas are using cell phones and so forth. And the ending is inspired by 'Rosemary's Baby'. This movie is a total cash grab.

1 star out of 4
February 2, 2014
This is quite possibly the worst movie I've ever seen - and I've watched some shit in my time! It's like somebody's photocopied your memories of the original, crumpled it up and drawn dicks all over what is left... I'd give it no star if I could
October 24, 2013
The Wicker Tree lacks all the subtle genius of Robin Hardy's 1973 classic The Wicker Man. The villain couldn't look more like the devil if he had horns and a tail. The young Christian couple that runs afoul of a pagan coven are so goofy that they seem like stereotypes of American bumpkins.
March 23, 2013
Slow and very creepy. Pagan is still really interesting.
July 28, 2012
'The Wicker Tree' is an incredibly odd, and surprisingly incompetent offering. And unlike Neil LaBrute's Nic Cage starring remake of the cult-classic 'The Wicker Man', Robin Hardy's much-belated pseudo-sequel to his original film isn't even enjoyable as a comedy.
January 31, 2013
Nearly forty years after the release of the cult classic THE WICKER MAN, director Robin Hardy has returned to the screen with a "spiritual sequel" entitled THE WICKER TREE, as adapted from his own novel Cowboys for Christ.

Betty and Steve embark on a trip to Scotland to perform missionary work in the name of Jesus, where they are invited to preach the gospel in the small and hedonistic town of Tressock by the leading lord and lady. Their good nature quickly betrays them when they are fooled into playing the parts of the Queen of the May and her Laddie in the upcoming May Day celebration, a pagan ritual that will be used to restore feracity to the land.

THE WICKER TREE suffers invariably from its connection to the original film, which forces unfair comparisons between the two. Expectations will be set exceedingly high as a result, which may initially lead to an uncharitable response from the existing fan base. There is much at work in THE WICKER TREE, however, between the cynical humor, religious banter, musical interlacing, slight eroticism, and underlying suspense. Hardy takes a risk in delivering another artful suspense piece in light of the drastic changes the film-going public has undergone over the years, but one that should inevitably pay off.

Having said that, THE WICKER TREE is far from perfect. Betty and Steve never strike a chord with the audience. They are far too gullible, and their characters are portrayed as shallow caricatures of Southern rubes. This was surely intended as part of the film's playful stab at Christianity, but the suspense suffers when the pair are lead like lambs to the slaughter. On the opposite side of the spectrum, Sir Lachlan Morrison and the townspeople of Tressock reveal their malintent far too soon, which takes away from the mystery and intrigue inherent in the original. In this way, Hardy may be playing against the viewer's familiarity with THE WICKER MAN, letting them in on the joke from the very beginning.

Graham McTavish steps in for Christopher Lee as Morrison, the charismatic leader of Tressock. He is a worthy successor, and delivers a powerful performance. Likewise, Honeysuckle Weeks places the audience under her spell as the seductive Lolly. Brittania Nicol and Henry Garrett are all too convincing as Betty and Steve, with their performances becoming the source of much ridicule. The line between innocence and idiocy has unfortunately been crossed, as there is very little irony to be found in either of their portrayals.

THE WICKER TREE revisits the musical traditions set forth in THE WICKER MAN, but with far less success. The gospel singing of Betty and Steve lacks the emotional discourse and intensity of tracks like "Willow's Song" or "Gently Johnny," which had a tremendous impact in driving the plot and luring a one Sergeant Howie into temptation. The continued use of music does give the film a unique identity in the midst of modern Horror.

What we are left with is a mixed bag overall: too serious to be taken as an outright comedy, and too soft for satire. As a "spiritual sequel," fans will surely revel in the familiar themes that are embedded in the film, but THE WICKER TREE stands in the shadow of Hardy's earlier success.
Rafael A.
September 26, 2012
This movie is ruining everything The Wicker Man stood for. The amateur acting and production make it just as bad as The Wicker Man remake (2006).
December 30, 2012
Not a patch on the orginal.
November 6, 2012
Although not that bad, it has a lot of problems. A lot of things are ripped from other, better movies. The directing is good and the direction is weird, but not in a good way. The characters are laughable. The script isn't horrifying, except for the laddie scene. The film doesn't bore me and I do like the weirdness and black humor. Only see if you know what you are getting. Other than that, skip it. I give it a C
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