Director: Robin Hardy
Stars: Stars: Brittania Nicol, Henry Garrett, Graham McTavish
You might’ve heard of a film called The Wicker Man? I’ve not seen the Nicolas Cage version, but I know it’s legendary for being bloody awful. No, I’m talking about the original film from Robin Hardy which featured Edward Woodward becoming embroiled in an increasingly disturbing mystery acuminating to one of the greatest endings in movie history. After a thirty year absence from the big screen, Robin Hardy himself decided to film a sequel called The Wicker Tree. We’re allowed to get excited because it’s the original director coming back to do it all with a cameo from Lord Summerisle himself! I remember watching the trailer when it came out and thinking that it looked really promising with its surreal, unsettling imagery. The trailer didn’t reveal anything about the plot, and after seeing the film I can see why.
The Wicker Tree is complete shite. I’m not quite sure what Robin Hardy has been doing for three decades, but he must have been going through some sort of hideous artistic crisis. Maybe he’s become a drug addict because he must’ve been smoking something unsavoury when he was behind the camera for this. The film follows a couple of young, Bible bashing Texans going on a pilgrimage to Scotland to spread the word of God. Just in case you’re not sure whether they’re American or not from their strong Texan accents, they’re complete with cowboy hats and have to sing a country song every five minutes. Our virginal hero, Beth Booby, is even a famous country singer despite having a fairly crap voice.
Beth Booby is like the anti-Miley Cyrus which is revealed in a hilarious sequence where Beth and her bo watch themselves on Scottish news performing like Katherine Jenkins in a Church. The news reporter then shows us what Beth Booby used to be like by popping on the world’s worst music video featuring Beth line dancing in tiny shorts singing about how much of a slag she is. All that’s missing is her straddling a wrecking ball and licking a sledge hammer. It’s an absolutely hilarious moment, just because it’s so badly done. It sets the tone for the rest of the film. Her bo is a born again virgin just like his fiancé, although he still finds time skinny dipping and having sex with strangers in lakes.
The original Wicker Man became a cult classic after being re-discovered by some small cinemas in 1977. The same is likely to happen to The Wicker Tree, although this will of course reach cult status for all the wrong reasons. The film itself looks like some sort of shoddy Drama for ITV and the acting from the entire cast is even worse. I read somewhere that Joan Collins was going to star in it at one point and that really would’ve just been the cherry on top of the cake! Some of the cast actually look like they’ve just been dragged off their local Scottish street and forced to star in the film. My heart broke a little when the great Christopher Lee appeared for a pointless cameo, acting opposite a hopelessly wooden lad painting a bridge.
The attempts at intentional comedy are cringe-inducing and completely out of place. The film works much better when it’s not trying to be funny. It definitely falls under the ‘so bad it’s good’ category and is brilliantly entertaining all the way through. I must say that the attempts of Wicker Man-esque horror in the last 15 minutes got a bit tedious, because it felt like they were trying to actually generate scares. The rest of the film is a hoot though, for all the wrong reasons. It’s as if some kids saw The Wicker Man, got pissed and decided to do a remake. It’s extraordinary that it’s the total opposite and Robin Hardy himself created this masterpiece of disaster. If I were to rate this film on quality, it would struggle to receive a 2/10, however as it’s such a blast to laugh at I have to go higher.