Not Guilty: The Nicolas Cage version of The Wicker Man

Contributed by
Dec 5, 2017

In Not Guilty, we look at movies that the general consensus tells us we should feel bad for liking, but that our hearts tell us we should embrace -- "guilty pleasures" we don't feel guilty about. This time we take on utterly insane 2006 remake of The Wicker Man.

I feel the urgent need to preface this piece: this is not a good movie. Not by any stretch of the imagination. It is, however, absolutely the most bonkers and fun delight of a misandrist spectacle ever to appear in mine eyes. Growing up on Mystery Science Theater 3000, I have a dear and special place in my heart for bad movies. The Room? Seen it almost 100 times. Glitter? I have huge chunks of it memorized. But the Neil LaBute version of The Wicker Man exists in its own realm. It's not so bad it's good. It's so almost accidentally great that it's amazing. 

Here's how to fix that accident in your favor: upon first viewing, watch the movie the way the movie wants you to, following Nicolas Cage through this terrifying world inhabited by murderous and creepy women. On second viewing, follow the women as they torture and gaslight Cage through an impossibly and ridiculously elaborate series of tricks and jokes just to freak him out for funsies before burning him alive. And, I promise you, you too will kind of love this movie.

Because the movie wants you to think this is a terrifying island of brutal, evil women. When actually, one could easily consider it a feminist utopia where everyone drinks mead 24/sev and wears sweaters. I mean, sure, their methods are questionable but their ideals are sound.

This movie is what MRAs have nightmares about after eating too many sandwiches they tragically had to make for themselves.

And it's run by Ellen Burstyn, who, like, 10/10, would worship.

Like, who among us *wouldn't* send our kids to this school?

I mean these little girls are armed with literary BURNS.

Oh, look, it's the SYFY FANGRRLS mission statement.

Because all Cage's character is doing is proving to these children that men are terrifying. They'll steal your cool masks while you're playing.

They'll kick down your door.

And punch the local tavern manager.

So they are fully within their rights to not only carry out this deeply elaborate troll job but the myriad sub-trolls within the big troll. From minor but creepy pranks...

To minor but creepy twins...

To minor but creepy pop-ups when their trolling mark can't even see them, so committed to the act of trolling they are.

To moderate bee-based trolls. What if he hadn't opened that door? Would she just be straight chilling bee-wards? 

To the major long-con troll of pretending to have a car accident just to give this guy PTSD or something WHO EVEN KNOWS? It's for literally no reason BUT THE TROLL OF IT.

And they're not even a little afraid.

And the men are SO fine with it.

Because why wouldn't they be? This Nic Cage murder party is LIT.

Viewed through the right lens--and that lens is the "fall 2017" lens where we need this kind of catharsis -- The Wicker Man is a glorious tribute to misandry. Thank you, Neil LaBute and Nicolas Cage who presumably had no idea this was going to be the case, and to Burstyn, Molly Parker and all the other women involved who sooooo did.