Film Review | The Wicker Man

Flesh to touch, flesh to burn, don’t keep the wicker man waiting

Director: Robin Hardy

Starring: Edward Woodward, Christopher Lee, Diane Cilento

Genre: Horror/Mystery/Thriller

Release Date: December 6th 1973

Certificate: X

From the very first shot, in which we follow a small plane flying over the sparsely populated Outer Hebrides, The Wicker Man lets the audience know that this isn’t your normal horror film, it’s not the boogeyman you should be scared of, it’s the isolation, something that was practically unheard of at the time.

The Wicker Man (1973)
The Wicker Man (1973)

The Wicker Man has always been a film that was hard to classify, with its strong gothic overtones and almost magical feel, it has always straddled the line between horror, thriller and mystery, while the plot forces you into the uncomfortable position between the repressed Christian sexual frustration and the sexual liberation of Paganism, it really is unique.

As Sgt. Howie (Woodward) delves deeper into the mystery surrounding the missing girl, and his faith starts to come under attack, the film starts to transition, getting darker and more alien, not just to Howie but also to the viewers, it’s really interesting and creepy to watch all the small hints and clues that point towards not only the islander’s true intentions but also the officer’s fate.

Geraldine Cowper and Edward Woodward in Robin HardyÕs THE WICKER MAN (1973). Courtesy: Rialto Pictures/ Studiocanal

It’s here that the film cements its place in cinema history, no matter how many times you view the film, the climax will always be one of the most harrowing, scary and jaw-dropping endings in the horror genre, joining that rare group of films where the good doesn’t triumph over evil.

The Wicker Man is a rare example of a horror film that not only has little in the way of bad points but also ended up changing the genre for the better, coming years before The Shining and The Thing took isolated psychological horror to the next level, this film proved that it didn’t humans can be just as scary as ghosts, vampires or zombies. Now let’s all pretend the 2003 remake with Nicholas Cage never happened.

Rating: 6 out of 6.

If you liked: The Thing, The Witch, The Shining.


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