Tuesday, September 4, 2012


Wicker Tree, The (2010) (1st viewing) d. Hardy, Robin

Seriously, I don’t even know where to start in trashing of Hardy’s long-muttered-about follow-up to his occult masterpiece, The Wicker Man. Reaching unimagined levels of face-palming idiocy, it may even trump the notoriously misguided Neil Labute/Nicolas Cage remake of 2006 – one of the more laughable horror efforts in the last 10 years – in sullying its predecessor’s good name.

Even for those not familiar with the 1973 Christopher Lee vehicle (who pops here up in a pointless, fruitless cameo), the presumably mysterious set-up for the sequel is so mustache-twirling obvious that we know EXACTLY what’s going to happen within the first 10 minutes. Even worse, our Texan pair of fresh-scrubbed born-again hicks (Brittania Nicol, Henry Garrett) sent to save the lost heathen souls of Scotland are so dunderheaded and two-dimensional that they generate no sympathy AT ALL. What the original’s protagonist Edward Woodward had going was in spite of his bullheaded Christianity, he was attempting to solve a heinous kidnapping case and therefore commanded viewer alliance regardless of religious persuasion – here, we can’t wait to see these ministerial morons slapped on the barbie.

In addition to the head-scratching use of “crow-cam,” Hardy also attempts to replicate the use of songs interwoven within the narrative fabric; a fascinating device in the ’73 film, but here only a clumsy gambit that settles for hokey hymns and laughable music videos from Nicol’s “scandalous” Faith Hill-like country-pop past. Honeysuckle Weeks shows up in the requisite slatternly top-popping role, but even the fetching (and fetchingly named) Welsh actress’ fine flesh can’t save the day. While undeniably handsomely mounted, this remains a failure of cosmic proportions.

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