Horror | Mystery
Edward Woodward, Christopher Lee, Britt Ekland, Diane Cilento, Ingrid Pitt, Lindsay Kemp, Russell Waters, Aubrey Morris, Irene Sunter, Donald Eccles, Walter Carr, Roy Boyd, Peter Brewis, Geraldine Cowper, John Young
Sergeant Neil Howie (Edward Woodward) is sent to Summerisle, a Scottish island villain, to intestivage the disappearance of a young girl whom the townsfolk claim never existed.
Years ago I watched the remake starring Nicolas Cage. It was truly pathetic, and I had no interest whatsoever in seeing the original. Then people started telling me how much better the original was, so I finally gave it a shot. But it didn't blow me away. The thing is that I found "The Wicker Man" a weird and creepy combination of a horror and a musical. And it has aged terribly.
That, however, doesn't mean the film is bad. The most impressive thing about it is arguably the story that, as bizarre as it gets, manages to be very interesting since the very beginning, building suspense as it increases in oddities and creepiness. Also worth of a mention is the story's ability to grab the viewer's attention and keep their interest all the way to the ending, even when that person already knows how the story is going to end.
The film is also an attack and a criticism to the rigid British morale, portrayed to perfection throughout the protagonist, Sergeant Neil Howie, a virgin and bigoted man that will stick to his Christian beliefs until the end.
What I didn't like about the film was the impossibility to categorize is into a genre. It is not a pure horror - that also would require shock elements, gore and/or killings -, it isn't a true mystery film - despite the final twist, the story still is quite predictable. Also there is a lot of dancing and singing, which makes the film look more like a musical than anything else. (Does that even make sense?) And I was expecting a horror/thriller.
Other than that, everything else is fine. The music fits the story; the characters are interesting and well developed, but mostly important they are brought to life by an outstanding cast, from Edward Woodward who gives a tremendous performances as the police sergeant, to Christopher Lee who is terrific and creepy as the eccentric lord. And by the way, Lee totally steals the show.