The Wicker Tree (2011) is a English movie. Robin Hardy has directed this movie. Brittania Nicol,Henry Garrett,Graham McTavish,Jacqueline Leonard are the starring of this movie. It was released in 2011. The Wicker Tree (2011) is considered one of the best Drama,Horror movie in India and around the world.
Young Christians Beth and Steve, a gospel singer and her cowboy boyfriend, leave Texas to preach door-to-door in Scotland . When, after initial abuse, they are welcomed with joy and elation to Tressock, the border fiefdom of Sir Lachlan Morrison, they assume their hosts simply want to hear more about Jesus. How innocent and wrong they are.
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Admittedly, you could have taken a 6 inch brush and coloured me sceptical for this one. I am a huge fan of the original Wicker Man (less so of the Nicolas Cage version) and so it was with apprehension and doubt that I ventured into this sequel of sorts. The one saving grace may have been the close involvement of Robin Hardy, the original author and director of the Christopher Lee classic. Lee was pencilled in to star in this movie but unfortunately health problems excluded him from doing so, his appearance is stripped down to a very incidental flashback scene, yet his name still rides high in the opening credits. This is only the first disappointment that you will experience when it comes to The Wicker Tree. It is essential to be fair and state that it is far from the worst horror movie you will see this year, as it has a certain amount of redeeming features. The problem is the unfortunate fact that it will always have to stand comparison to the original, a movie which has cemented itself as an indisputable classic. One of the primary difficulties which The Wicker Tree stumbles to overcome is the overall tone of the movie. It can't seem to decide whether it's a knowing and acerbic in-joke, a serious thriller or a humorous homage to its predecessor. This is one of the main reasons that it fails to have any definite resonance with the viewer, although it doesn't make it difficult to watch. There are some beautifully composed shots of the unforgiving Scottish countryside and a particularly handsome raven, but there's so little going on under the surface that it quickly becomes the equivalent of a rushed meal at a fast food restaurant, complete with the subsequent guilt, nausea and comedown. The American leads are satisfactory in that all they have to do is play vacuous Evangelist Christians, sent over on a mission to the remote Scottish village. The villagers are played for comic relief rather than any form or actual menace and so the inevitable 'scene' that we're all waiting for the entire movie is played out like a community centre theatrical production of The Wicker Man, only with a slightly bigger budget and more actors. If you're a Hardy obsessive, by all means give it a shot. If you're unfamiliar with the movie's origins, you'll probably get a few laughs out of it, but that's hardly what one would expect when a story comes from such good original stock. A missed opportunity. More reviews available at zombiehamster.com
Difficult to describe just how bad this attempt to bring up to date the Wicker Man story is without totally dissecting it and going into detail, but frankly it's just not worth that kind effort. Some of the acting is okay - though the two American leads are both pretty poor - and the direction is competent, that's all the positives done and dusted ! The storyline doesn't work very well, the music is absolutely woeful and completely wrong - unlike in the Wicker Man where it was perfect and added greatly to the atmosphere - and the sense of realism you get from the original is totally missing here. The film feels and looks a bit like a fairly low budget Hollywood remake, a real surprise considering they were both made by the same director. I'm not going to waste any more time and energy on this very poor effort, except to say that it's only highlight for me was a comedy scene and if you love the truly classic Wicker Man, do yourself a big favour and stay well away from the Wicker Tree !
Did we really think writer/director Robin Hardy could better "The Wicker Man", that masterpiece of horror, which along with William Friedkin's "The Exorcist" defined the genre in the 1970's? It was a tall order, but he did come up with one surprise - he more or less repeated himself. A couple of born-again Christians, 'Cowboys for Christ', Beth Boothby (Brittania Nicol) and Steve Thompson (Henry Garrett), cross the Atlantic on a mission to spread the Lord's word to the spiritually challenged flock in Scotland. After meeting a local laird, Sir Lachlan Morrison (Graham McTavish), they are directed to Tressock, a community that has an infertility problem caused by a leak from a nuclear power plant. The innocent couple become central to the town's May Day festivities, involving human sacrifice to get the community's seed germinating again. All conspire against them except for Lolly (Honeysuckle Weeks), the head groom on Sir Lachlan's estate. We know how it will end because there was no mercy for Edward Woodward in the first version so we don't expect any for Beth and Steve in this one. The problem with knowing the basic premise is that the only tension comes in seeing how the ritual will be carried out. However, for some reason, Hardy holds back - we see nothing that compares to the anguish of Edward Woodward locked in his blazing wicker prison in the 1973 film. The Wicker Tree itself is an artistic looking number, but it doesn't project the menace of the giant wicker cage of the original. Where the "The Wicker Tree" breaks from "The Wicker Man" is in the attempts at black humour; the naive Beth and Steve are treated as somewhat comic characters, as is Beame, Sir Lachlan's head man, who is involved in a number of jocular bits of business such as being stabbed up the kilt with a broken glass; it's hard to know quite how to take this movie as it changes mood at odd times. The film doubles up on a couple of elements from the original, namely the number of sacrifices and the amount of nudity. Honeysuckle Weeks sheds her "Foyle's War" khakis and everything else for a couple of airy romps, including a brave effort in a chilly Scottish stream. Although it's nice to see Christopher Lee back for a little homage, the biggest problem with "The Wicker Tree" is that it pays just too much homage to the original movie. The most important sacrifice of all would have entailed letting go of the old plot and heading off in a new direction. Instead of a lop-sided remake, maybe a follow-up to the original would have been a better option - by 2011, the number of disappearances on Summerisle would have reached epic proportions with the supply of wicker also running dangerously low. At least that approach may have provided a few surprises.
I think the thing that is most disappointing about The Wicker Tree is that it's taken such a long time to come to the screen. Its production spanned several years. The working title 'Cowboys for Christ' is actually quite an accurate description of the film so it seems that the basic idea has remained the same. In fact, it's based on a novel written by Robin Hardy, the director of the first movie The Wicker Man. I haven't read the book but I am very familiar with the original film which remains one of the best movies of the horror genre. The fact that Hardy announced that he would return to director duties and make a spiritual follow up to this seminal classic generated some anticipation. Sadly, the result is a far cry from the original and not a good film on its own right. There are several problems with this production. The first one is that the story just isn't very good. Its plot trajectory is similar in some ways to The Wicker Man but only in the sense that you kind of know where this is going and it only serves to dispel any possible mystery and tension. In fact, generally speaking, this feature has almost no suspense at all. For some inexplicable reason it seems to have been played for laughs, except not very good laughs because I would hardly say this works as a comedy. At best it comes across like an episode of 'Monarch of the Glen' with some added nudity. It really is that bland unfortunately. It has all the atmosphere of a TV drama. Where the first movie had terrific music and a compelling mystery, this one has a dreary soundtrack and no intrigue. The horror side of the story is only half-heartedly introduced in the final reel. The wicker tree itself seems almost irrelevant while the murder scene is bizarrely underplayed – I mean a subtle depiction of cannibalism? Hmmm, okay. Another key issue is the two leads. The two evangelical country and western singers are a dreadful couple of characters to base the story around. It feels like they were used in order to appeal to the American market. Whatever the case they are detrimental to the feel of the film and the actors playing them put in poor performances. They are not alone, however, as most of the cast are very below par; the one shining exception being the excellently named Honeysuckle Weeks who plays the nymph Lolly. She was in actual fact terrific and had a strong erotic presence throughout, her scene in the river being easily the best moment in the film and the only part that had any real zest about it. Honeysuckle was the only performer in this that you could imagine adding value to the first movie. The only actor to return is Christopher Lee but sadly he has no more than a brief cameo and unfortunately his scene doesn't really add up to much. It's watchable. But it's dreary. And it feels massively like a missed opportunity. To expect The Wicker Man II is unrealistic but it isn't too much to have expected something with at least a bit of character. Other that Honeysuckle Weeks, there is sadly a short supply of that here.
The Wicker Tree is more disappointing than I ever thought it could be. Terrible acting, clunky direction, naff music, unbelievable characters. In the original, Howie's character was a believable, devout Christian - committed, horrified at Summerisle's pagan practices and living out a believable battle between his commitment to faith and all the temptations that Summerisle presents. In contrast, the Wicker Tree's Beth and Steve are shallow caricatures, lame stereotypes played for cheap laughs. Their mission to evangelise 'heathen Scotland' doesn't ring true. Relocating from a remote island to mainland UK removes any hint of genuine threat and isolation (you don't for one moment believe this place actually exists) and, given that Hardy is a Brit, that kind of lazy writing and directing is unforgivable. Clearly no research went in to trying to authentically present these places and characters - S+B's relationship is unconvincing from the first moment, their behaviour dubious, Beth's back-story is laughable and their methods of faith-sharing unconvincing guess work on Hardy's part. These things are also true of the characters' portrayal in Hardy's book (Cowboys for Christ) so it's no surprise that the film lazily regurgitates these errors. By the time their inevitable demise ensues, you've long ceased caring and you're just left hoping that the pay-off for these wretched cardboard cut-outs is worth it. It's not. Clearly the Wicker Man is fantastical, but the joy and horror of it stems from the possibility that it could.. just be.. a true story. Tree, on the other hand, is like a poorly thought out play written by 15 year olds for a GCSE drama production. Everything that was bold, funny, scary, shocking and beautiful about the first film is (I assume unintentionally) mocked or (intentionally) rehashed. In 90 minutes there was one moving moment and only one genuinely (and intentionally) funny scene. Thematically, any attempt to comment on faith and religion, hope and virtue, sacrifice and naivete, love and death, nature and fear all go out of the window - if they were ever welcomed in to the room in the first place. The whole thing stinks. The music is tagged on, unmemorable and cringe-worthy. The comedy characters are woefully misjudged and their story arcs embarrassing. It doesn't matter how many breasts are thrust at the screen, there is zero erotic tension - Steve's temptation and subsequent actions are so ludicrous that Woodward would turn in his grave if he could see his character's virtues and struggles being so lazily lambasted. Did I also mention: it's not at all scary. The Christopher Lee scene should have gone straight to the cutting room floor. The dialogue is naff. The acting is - for the most part and excluding Clive Russell - amateur. The rituals and rites of May Day and the Riding of the Laddie fail to engage or intimidate. Pluses? The scenery is nice. The poster art is excellent. Nic Cage isn't in it - although I'd watch that sacrilegious Wicker Man remake 10 times before I ever sat down to watch this again. Why? because for other people to demonstrate sheer stupidity in tearing apart and misunderstanding the Wicker Man legend is one thing - for Robin Hardy to do it in such a cheap, tacky, boring, patronising way is something else entirely and he should be duly ashamed. If you love the Wicker Man, curiosity will drive to you see this anyway - I'd be really interested to hear if people found it more bearable or less disappointing than I did. Am I being too harsh? Whatever - I won't be watching it again to find out.