3.8/10
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55 user 108 critic

The Wicker Tree (2011)

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1:54 | Trailer
Charmed by the residents of Tressock, Scotland, two young missionaries accept the invitation to participate in a local festival, fully unaware of the consequences of their decision.

Director:

Robin Hardy

Writers:

Robin Hardy, Robin Hardy (novel)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Brittania Nicol ... Beth Boothby
Henry Garrett ... Steve Thomson
James Mapes ... Reverend Moriarty
Lesley Mackie Lesley Mackie ... Daisy
Clive Russell ... Beame
Graham McTavish ... Sir Lachlan Morrison
Jacqueline Leonard Jacqueline Leonard ... Lady Delia Morrison
Bill Murdoch ... Rev. McLeod
Kirstin Murray Kirstin Murray ... Celebrity Interviewer
Christopher Fosh ... Trailer Trash Video Dancer
Graham Wadsworth Graham Wadsworth ... Trailer Trash Video Dancer
Honeysuckle Weeks ... Lolly
David Plimmer David Plimmer ... Jack
Iain Stuart Robertson Iain Stuart Robertson ... Peter McNeil
Ailidh Mackay Ailidh Mackay ... Anthea
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Storyline

Young Christians Beth and Steve, a gospel singer and her cowboy boyfriend, leave Texas to preach door-to-door in Scotland . When, after initial abuse, they are welcomed with joy and elation to Tressock, the border fiefdom of Sir Lachlan Morrison, they assume their hosts simply want to hear more about Jesus. How innocent and wrong they are. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Accept our sacrifice

Genres:

Drama | Horror

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sexuality, nudity and violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

27 January 2012 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Cowboys for Christ See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$7,750,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Filming was due to start in September 2007, but the movie was delayed for financial reasons. It was later announced this movie would shoot from April 2008 in Dumfries and Galloway. A week before the shoot, Dumfries and Galloway Council announced the filming had been stopped due to financial reasons. Filming eventually started in July 2009 in Haddington, Gorebridge, Midlothian, and Dallas. See more »

Goofs

When Steve is laying in bed his shorts are white with red and blue plaid pattern. When we see him through the eyes of the raven, they are dark blue overall, and after the raven leaves they are back to the red, blue and white plaid shorts. See more »

Quotes

[last lines]
Danny: Lass? Stay Still!
[last lines]
Mary Hellier: No! No!
[Is surronded by Danny, Beame and the other townspeople]
Mary Hellier: God why? Danny? Steve!
See more »

Connections

References The Simpsons (1989) See more »

Soundtracks

Time's Passing Frame
Keith Easdale
Performed by Keith Easdale and Brittania Nicol
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Wow, this was bitterly disappointing
10 May 2012 | by ewanthejonesSee all my reviews

The Wicker Tree is more disappointing than I ever thought it could be. Terrible acting, clunky direction, naff music, unbelievable characters.

In the original, Howie's character was a believable, devout Christian - committed, horrified at Summerisle's pagan practices and living out a believable battle between his commitment to faith and all the temptations that Summerisle presents. In contrast, the Wicker Tree's Beth and Steve are shallow caricatures, lame stereotypes played for cheap laughs. Their mission to evangelise 'heathen Scotland' doesn't ring true. Relocating from a remote island to mainland UK removes any hint of genuine threat and isolation (you don't for one moment believe this place actually exists) and, given that Hardy is a Brit, that kind of lazy writing and directing is unforgivable. Clearly no research went in to trying to authentically present these places and characters - S+B's relationship is unconvincing from the first moment, their behaviour dubious, Beth's back-story is laughable and their methods of faith-sharing unconvincing guess work on Hardy's part. These things are also true of the characters' portrayal in Hardy's book (Cowboys for Christ) so it's no surprise that the film lazily regurgitates these errors. By the time their inevitable demise ensues, you've long ceased caring and you're just left hoping that the pay-off for these wretched cardboard cut-outs is worth it. It's not.

Clearly the Wicker Man is fantastical, but the joy and horror of it stems from the possibility that it could.. just be.. a true story. Tree, on the other hand, is like a poorly thought out play written by 15 year olds for a GCSE drama production. Everything that was bold, funny, scary, shocking and beautiful about the first film is (I assume unintentionally) mocked or (intentionally) rehashed. In 90 minutes there was one moving moment and only one genuinely (and intentionally) funny scene. Thematically, any attempt to comment on faith and religion, hope and virtue, sacrifice and naivete, love and death, nature and fear all go out of the window - if they were ever welcomed in to the room in the first place. The whole thing stinks. The music is tagged on, unmemorable and cringe-worthy. The comedy characters are woefully misjudged and their story arcs embarrassing. It doesn't matter how many breasts are thrust at the screen, there is zero erotic tension - Steve's temptation and subsequent actions are so ludicrous that Woodward would turn in his grave if he could see his character's virtues and struggles being so lazily lambasted.

Did I also mention: it's not at all scary. The Christopher Lee scene should have gone straight to the cutting room floor. The dialogue is naff. The acting is - for the most part and excluding Clive Russell - amateur. The rituals and rites of May Day and the Riding of the Laddie fail to engage or intimidate.

Pluses? The scenery is nice. The poster art is excellent. Nic Cage isn't in it - although I'd watch that sacrilegious Wicker Man remake 10 times before I ever sat down to watch this again. Why? because for other people to demonstrate sheer stupidity in tearing apart and misunderstanding the Wicker Man legend is one thing - for Robin Hardy to do it in such a cheap, tacky, boring, patronising way is something else entirely and he should be duly ashamed.

If you love the Wicker Man, curiosity will drive to you see this anyway - I'd be really interested to hear if people found it more bearable or less disappointing than I did. Am I being too harsh? Whatever - I won't be watching it again to find out.


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