Last week I was disappointed that the movie I watched wasn’t that bad.
Wait, no, the opposite of that. I was happy to watch a movie that wasn’t that bad. Since this is a column about bad movies though it didn’t really work in my favour and this week I may have over compensated slightly. Continuing with the Nic-Cage-A-Thon we’re watching the terrible 2006 remake of The Wicker Man. So let’s dive right in, shall we?
The film opens in rural America. Big mountains and big sky. Nic is a high patrol cop, and he’s an asshole about it. The words “Do you know why I pulled you over?” drip disdain every time they show him giving someone a ticket in the opening montage. Eventually a kid throws her doll out the window of the station she’s riding in. Nic picks it up and pull them over to give it back. The asshole kid IMMEDIATELY throws it back out. The mother tries to apologize as Nic goes to pick it up again, sighing as he contemplates the hell that is his life, a semi truck FUCKING CREAMS the station wagon. Nic tries to save them, screaming in casual disinterest as he does, but the car explodes and he passes out (presumably from attempting to emote).
An indeterminate amount of time later we catch up with Nic sitting at home in a sweatsuit which i sa clear indicator of the production value of this movie. He’s visited by one of his highway cop friends and she appears to be played by some sort of robot whose emotion setting is permanently stuck on “awkward”.
She has brought him get well soon cards from his colleagues and a letter that came for him. The letter is from his ex saying that her daughter is missing and begging for help in the most melodramatic yet emotionless tone ever.
I’m pretty sure Niel LaBute’s direction in this part of the movie was “ok, say it like it doesn’t actually matter” because no one has been able to convey any kind of real emotion so far.
Against all the advice of anyone in a position to give him advice Nic decides to go to help his ex. She lives on a small island in the pacific northwest in some kind of hippy commune. Nic takes a Ferry from the midwest to coast, and then finds a pilot to take him to the commune island. The conversation between Nic and the pilot goes something like this:
Nic: I need to go to the island
Pilot: No, they don’t like visitors and I don’t want to upset or disturb them
Nic: But I need to go to the island!
Pilot: No, they value their privacy and I respect that. I have a relationship with them developed over years and years I don’t want to jeopardize that.
Nic: How about if I give you 20 bucks?
Pilot: HOP ON IN WE’LL BE THERE IN A JIFFY!
Nic gets dropped off on the beach because when you’re flying a seaplane around a small island that’s stealthy and on his way to the village he runs into a group of women. He introduces himself and asks about the missing girl. They are doing their best not to laugh at him but it’s not really working. They can’t even make eye contact with him, the jerks. Two men then walk up carrying a canvas sack which clearly has something alive inside it struggling to get out and bleeding profusely. He asks to see what’s inside and they say no, he flashes his badge and demands so they open the bag and when he reaches for it it jerks and splatters blood and he just walks away and they laugh at him.
Wait, what the fuck just happened? He’s investigating foul play and doesn’t look in the bag that dripping copious amounts of blood? I guess that’s why he’s a highway patrol cop and not a detective.
Next he checks into the local inn which is run by a larger, but clearly older and outdated robot. It’s here we meet his ex. Her name is Poutyface McNoncommittal. She appears alternately perfectly happy and incredibly scared. It’s a rather acute form of Bi-Polar disorder.
Nic starts investigating. He meets the school teacher and she is having her kids torture a bird and also learn about how men are evil. Pretty awkward when Nic walks in. People are avoiding Nic questions and he’s slowly getting crazier and crazier. He sees the teacher again but she’s a different person in a different place and denies ever having spoken to him, for example. He also sees a pair of old blind twin ladies who speak in unison for some reason.
Eventually he gets stung by a bee and nearly dies because he’s allergic. I should probably mention, the main source of cash on this island is honey. That is, it’s basically a massive honey farm. Which is full of bees. And he’s allergic to bees. Again, highway cop, not a detective.
Anyway, he’s revived and meets the creepy old lady in charge. He asks her questions and she talks a lot but doesn’t answer.
That pretty much describes the next whole act of the movie. He asks questions and people avoid him or don’t give him any real answers and Nic goes crazier and crazier. It also becomes clear that men are second class citizens on the island. Held captive and abused by the women and only used for breeding.
He keeps wandering the island in despair, seeing the creep twins AGAIN and the corpse of the pilot who flew him to the island. The women killed him because no one would miss him on the mainland, right? I mean it’s not like he lives in a town or has a pilots license to renew or anything.
Eventually he figures out that the missing girl is both his daughter and about to be sacrificed to the gods to bring back the honey because there was a poor harvest the year before and a sacrifice to the old gods will bring it back. Oh, and did I menton that the women are pagans who worship ancient celtic gods? That becomes pretty clear what with the whole sacrifice. thing.
Nic then completely snaps and goes on a rampage. He goes to the inn and punches the elderly robot in the face so hard she shuts down. He steals her bear costume, yes, they dress as animals for the big sacrifice, and when everyone gets to the sacrifice site he runs up and punches a bunch more people takes the girl and runs. They come to a field and everyone is waiting for him. Surprise! You’re the sacrifice Nic! What a twist!
And everything goes off the rails. They brek his legs, put a mask on his head and fill it full of bees and then hoist him up into the head of a giant wicker effigy and the little missing girl sets it on fire and he burns to death.
This movie is fuckign absurd. In fact, I think it might have been an exercise in absurdist art except that they forgot to tell us about it. It’s almost like the film is from the persective of Nic’s character but this is just how he percieves things and he has some kind of metal health issues, paranoia, depression or schizophrenia, that causes his perception of events to become completely crazy.
It’s the only explanation for how everyone treats him in the film, either with kid gloves or with open “oh aren’t you just precious” condescension. It’s ridiculous. It’s not even worth watching for the scenes of Nic losing his shit that have gone on to be internet memes (see “how’d it get burned” and “not the bees!“). In fact, watch those two clips. Not only have you just sen everything worth seeing in this film, you get an idea of the level of acting in the film. It’s not so much “Academy Award” material as it is “12 year Old Playing Make Believe” material. How it made it into cinemas is beyond me.
Bottom line? Strictly avoid. This is the worst movie I’ve seen yet.
Matt Watches Bad Movies is a weekly feature in which Matt watches a bad film so you don’t have to. If you have suggestions of something terrible you’ve seen, or haven’t seen but are morbidly curious about, feel free to tell me about it in the comments or via twitter @posterboy81