Release Date: 27th August 2011

Director: Robin Hardy (The Wicker Man)

Cast: Brittania Nicol, Henry Garrett, Graham McTavish, Honeysuckle Weeks, Jacqueline Leonard with Clive Russell and Christopher Lee

Writer: Robin Hardy


**check out JOE PESCI’s exceedlingly excellent review below!!!**


  • Henry Garrett: A Little Chaos, Testament of Youth
  • Graham McTavish: The Finest Hours, Rocky 7 – Creed, The Hobbit – Battle of the Five Armies, Plastic, The Hobbit- The Desolation of Smaug, The Hobbit – An Unexpected Journey, Green Street 2, Rambo
  • Honeysuckle Weeks: Foyle’s War (TV)
  • Jacqueline Leonard: Doctors (TV), Eastenders (TV)
  • Clive Russell: Still, Outpost 2, Sherlock Holmes 2, Coronation St (TV), Sherlock Holmes (2009), The Wolfman (2009), Ladies In Lavender, Mr In-Between, Festival, The 13th Warrior, Oscar & Lucinda, Margaret’s Museum, The Hawk,  Neverwhere (TV), Soft Top – Hard Shoulder
  • Christopher Lee: The Hobbit – The Desolation of Smaug, The Hobbit- An Unexpected Journey, Dark Shadows, Hugo, Burke and Hare, Season Of The Witch, The Resident, Alice In Wonderland (2010)(voice), The Heavy, Glorious 39, The Golden Compass, The Corpse Bride (voice), Charlie and The Chocolate Factory (2005),  Star Wars- The Attack Of The Clones, Star Wars- The Revenge Of The Sith, The Lord Of The Rings- The Fellowship Of The Ring, The Two Towers, Return Of The King, Sleepy Hollow, The Stupids, A Feast At Midnight, Funny Man, Gremlins 2, The Howling II, Airport ’77, James Bond- The Man With The Golden Gun, The Wicker Man, The Satanic Rites Of Dracula, The House That Dripped Blood, Taste The Blood Of Dracula, Count Dracula

One thought on “THE WICKER TREE


    THE WICKER TREE is a belated sequel to the 1973 classic THE WICKER MAN. If you are unfamiliar with the earlier film stop reading this, seek it out, watch it, and pretend that you never heard of either this sequel or the much-maligned Nicolas Cage remake. If you are familiar with the original, then read on, friend, and thank me for the sacrifice I have made…
    Now, I’m going to bang on about the original THE WICKER MAN for a bit. My first recollection of the film’s existence was when it was listed as being on Channel 4 one Friday night in the mid 1990s. The review in the paper was excellent, and I was curious, having never heard of it. A week passed and I eagerly and impatiently waited as Channel 4 broadcast whatever mindless tripe (probably The Word) we had to put up with back then. The film was about to start. But no! It did not. Channel 4 had cancelled it, deeming it insensitive to broadcast due to something which had happened in the news to do with a report into social services and devil worship. Fair enough. This may have been the last time Channel 4 took anyone’s potential feelings into consideration. Disappointing though.
    Days/weeks/months/years passed (I can’t remember). And there it was! In all its lunatic glory! To this day the memory of that crazy film burns incandescently: lots of singing, gnarled local yokels, virgin coppers, missing children, more singing, weird accents, dead animals, naked Britt Ekland and her infamous body double, Christopher Lee looking hirsute, more dead animals and singing, and THAT ending.
    As the years have passed, and, largely due to Mark Kermode, the film’s reputation has grown (I think it’s even been described as the greatest British film ever, probably by Mark Kermode or someone who hasn’t seen CARRY ON COWBOY). Legends have grown round it, director’s cuts have been found buried under motorways (or something) and homages have been paid, and Woodward and Lee have (rightly) been deified. THE WICKER MAN is now , in some respects, the British CASABLANCA, in that the making of the film was famously fraught and muddled, but through the grime of production squabbles and financial nonsense, and distributor cowardice, it emerges as one of the greatest bits of loony film-making that anyone ever got away with.
    Honestly, even if you have seen it stop reading this, find your copy (and I assume that if you have seen it you will of course own it as well) and re-watch it now. I’ll still be here when you’ve finished.
    So, you’ve just watched THE WICKER MAN. Good wasn’t it?
    So, now, let’s take a look at THE WICKER TREE. Now there are some points in its favour, for one thing it isn’t called THE WICKER MAN II. And the heroes die. (That’s not really a spoiler is it?)And it’s still set in Scotland (though intriguingly the action seems to have moved to the mainland). I’ll think of some others later. Maybe.
    As far as the plot is concerned we see two young American born-again Christians (this means they are virgins) go to Scotland to convert heathens. One of them is a big pop star, and the other is a cowboy. (We know she’s a pop star because she keeps bursting into song at every opportunity, like Julie Andrews in the mid 60s and we know he’s a cowboy because he wears a cowboy hat continuously, even when being eaten by naked Scottish peasants eagerly propitiating their crazy pagan God, Alex Salmond.) (I might have made parts of that last bit up. But which parts?)Meanwhile, Scotland is run by Graham McTavish (currently rampaging across Middle-Earth as Dwalin in THE HOBBIT) playing a local laird who seems to be the owner of a pregnancy-preventing leaky nuclear power station. (I think this is relevant.) Meanwhile all the villagers seem to want to eat one of the Americans (in a cannibalistic way) and stuff the other one (in a taxidermal way.) And Honeysuckle Weeks has lots of sex with a policeman and the cowboy.
    The actors are, for the most part, pretty decent, but they have nothing to work with. Brittania Nicol and Henry Garrett are perfectly acceptable leads in a teen slasher movie sort of way, but Edward Woodward was outstanding in the original, and this film needed outstanding, not acceptable performances (and script, and direction). Jacqueline Leonard makes an impression early on as a local dignitary but is soon forgotten about. Most of the rest of the cast are perfectly competent, with the curious, nay baffling, exception of the usually excellent Clive Russell. The IMDB website suggests he was a last-minute replacement but this doesn’t explain how he came to be doing some sort of hybrid impersonation of Billy Connolly and Benny Hill. His performance belongs in a SCARY MOVIE movie or some other bad spoof. THE WICKER TREE may be a poor film, but it isn’t a bad spoof. I almost wish it was.
    Depressingly, it seems that, rather than find some new life in the old legend, Robin Hardy merely decided to remake his original, possibly with a checklist of things to tick off. Plot? Same. Christopher Lee? Present. (Just about, in a cameo where he seems to be floating against green screen.) Something made of wicker? Check. Lots of songs? Check. Nice shots of flora and fauna? Check.
    There are a few interesting ideas. The fate of the Queen of the May could have been more effective had it been better integrated. The big showdown is well filmed. And the idea that not all the villagers are happy with their traditions might have been explored to the film’s advantage.
    What is a sequel for? Having made a successful film it is only natural to wish to continue the story. But why continue it if you have nothing new to add? THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK is a great sequel in that it continues the story without being a carbon copy of its predecessor. Anything involving a Freddy, Jason or Michael slaughtering teenagers is a bad sequel as they’re just drab photocopies. Where does THE WICKER TREE fit in this continuum? Well, imagine the Mona Lisa. Now imagine a painting-by-numbers version onto which someone has scribbled some headphones and a cigarette. That is how THE WICKER TREE relates to THE WICKER MAN. It adds nothing of interest, and merely tries to repeat the formula of the original in the hope of striking gold again (what’s wrong with mixing metaphors anyway?). The problem is that the original formula didn’t work anyway, or at least, nobody noticed. Maybe in twenty five years or so we’ll see that THE WICKER TREE really was every bit as bold and barmy as its begetter, but for now it is a missed opportunity, a sadly bland, soulless tribute movie devoid of invention, character, idiosyncrasy, and that spark of mad genius which so distinguished THE WICKER MAN. You know, writing all this has persuaded me to go back to the original, which I shall do this very evening. I suggest you do the same if you didn’t do it earlier when I told you to.
    3 OUT OF 10

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