Considering the haste with which modern Hollywood happily greenlights soul-crushingly bad modernizations of horror classics, I suppose it was only a matter of time until we would have to face a remake of The Wicker Man. One of the more bizarre films in the crowded cannon of classic '70s horror, The Wicker Man endures as a hauntingly brilliant, distinctly British thriller that almost screams for the Hollywood hack typing pool: compelling plot, reasonable obscurity, and an affordably simple premise. In a nutshell: The search for a missing girl leads a semi-anonymous, puritanical policeman to the remote island of Summerisle, where, predictably, things are not quite what they seem. Sounds pretty good, right? But what if-—bear with me now-—what if...we stir a little of that Nicolas Cage magic in the pot? Sounds delicious, don't it?
The Wicker Man is not delicious. The Wicker Man tastes like an over-ripe, under-written, test marketed to death Hollywood afterthought. The Wicker Man, quite frankly, tastes like shit. And while I concede that it's rarely constructive to compare any remake to its source material, The Wicker Man: Remix seems to me to be a reasonable exception in this regard—as each and every one of its many insurmountable shortcomings can be traced back the movie's subtle straying from the original. A brief list of "improvements": predictable love interest, completely inexplicable backstory, digital bees (don't ask), an all-girl summer fun cult, guns, post-Shyamalan whisper-y sounds, non-sequitur "creepy" imagery, Nicolas Cage. (Strangely, the filmmakers were apparently too respectful to alter the original's awkward dialogue). Things we lose: the compelling religious conflict (which should have been very interesting in the hands of formerly reliable director Neil LaBute, a practicing Mormon), the weird/cool musical numbers, the sense of creeping doom, the weird/cool sex rituals, and virtually all practical plausibility.
What's more, the remake borrows liberally from the believable mythology of the original film without taking the time to actually explain what any of it means. This effectively leaves the film's only potential audience—those completely oblivious to the original—totally bewildered by the comically foreshadowed conclusion. Add to that the fact that Nicolas Cage beats the shit out of at least three women by film's end, and, well...honestly, why are you still reading this? Just skip it, 'kay?