the wicker man – movie review
MOVIE REVIEW: The Wicker Man
Since we are still in the Halloween season, I thought that today I would review a classic British horror movie: “The Wicker Man” (1973).
I usually avoid the horror genre, because I get easily freaked out by “jumpy” films; that is, films that aim to scare the viewer by making them jump with sudden loud noises and violent images (e.g. the American remake of “The Ring”). However I’m a huge fan of horror movies which try to induce terror psychologically, rather than visually, by having an escalating sense of dread, and “The Wicker Man” is a prime example of this kind of film.
The story begins with a sober and repressed police officer going to a remote Scottish island to investigate the disappearance of a young girl. From the moment he arrives on the island, things seem “a little off”. The locals seem friendly enough, and yet the island has an unnervingly sensual atmosphere, and all kinds of unusual things seem to be constantly taking place out of the corner of his eye: things which could be dismissed as local eccentricities, or could be something else. As the police officer runs into brick wall after brick wall in his attempt to get a rational explanation for what is happening, he eventually uncovers the truth about the island’s inhabitants and their customs. Though of course by this time it is much, much too late…
The film’s genuinely terrifying final scene, and the interplay between the police officer’s moral dogmatismand the islander’s gleeful paganism, make this an offbeat, truly eerie and thoroughly entertaining movie. Being both dark and playful at the same time, it taps into the spirit of Halloween and for me is the perfect Halloween movie.
freaked out (v.) ~ scared
induce (v.) ~ cause
psychologically (adj.) ~ dealing with the mind
escalating (v.) ~ building, growing
sober (adj.) ~ very serious
unnerving (adj.) ~ disturbing and creepy
sensual (adj.) ~ related to the body or the senses
eccentricity (n.) ~ a peculiarity or strange thing
brick wall (n.) ~ a position that has no hope of progress
interplay(n.) ~ two-way interaction
dogmatism (n.) ~ lack of flexibility
gleeful (adj.) ~ cheerful
paganism (n.) ~ related to the pagan religion, which holds that there are many gods