The Wicker Tree (2010)
Director – Robin Hardy
Anchor Bay Films – 95 minutes
Oh Dear , just oh dear .
I was looking forward to watching this as I am a major fan of the original and knowing Robin Hardy both wrote this (it is based on his book Cowboys for Christ) and directed this , I was intrigued as to see what he could do almost 40 years on from The Wicker Man .
After five minutes I realised this was going to be both awful and at the same time fun .
The film starts in Dallas when we see famous singer Beth Boothby (Britannia Nicol) and her (thick as a brick) cowboy boyfriend Steve (Henry Garrett) attending a church service where she sings on stage , after this the preacher explains to the congregation that Beth & Steve are going to Scotland for two years as redeemers to convert the locals .
The preacher explains “There are people there that have forgotten the Lord – many I hear don’t even believe in Angels” . Well as good a reason as any then to jet off to the heathen wastelands of Scotland .
Upon arriving at a huge mansion Beth and Steve are greeted by their hosts Sir Lachlan Morrison (Graham McTavish who you may know from Rambo , Pandemic and Penance) and Lady Delia Morrison (Jacqueline Leonard – a well known face on UK television , in Eastenders , Holby , The Bill etc etc ) . Inside the house Beth performs a Christian revival concert , now raise them horns.
As she performs Lachlan and Delia have the following conversation.
Lachlan “What a star and rather beautiful too”
Delia “I bet she smells of the dairy. A musky bush , milky tits and just a hint of warm cow shit behind the ears”.
And that’s the problem here , do we have a film that’s trying to be a serious successor to the original or is the a tongue in cheek pastiche to the whole genre that followed The Wicker Man?
Now we learn that Lachlan own the local nuclear power plant and 10 years ago there was an *accident* and maybe the locals have now become infertile as there are no kids around the village where they are now staying .
Now Mayday is looming and will the village choose Beth as their May Queen and Steve as her laddie?
There is a much underused (in my opinion) cast . There is Lolly (played by the wonderfully named Honeysuckle Weeks) who is a promiscuous , sexually aggressive pagan . And star of the film
Clive Russell who plays the butler Beame , who looks enormous in his kilt and plays the role in a very over-the-top manner that really lifts the final third of the film .
There is beautiful scenery , awful lighting (especially in the river scene) , dreadful dreadful music , poor scripting and wooden acting . But I think the script inadvertently adds some classic comic scenes and one-liners .
There was a small cameo from Christopher Lee who as I remember was offered a larger part in this but had to refuse due to ill health .
In summary the film is poor and only lifted by some awful scripting and a couple of half decent acting displays (Weeks & Russell) .
I advise not to watch this alone but with a few friends with a few beers and you may get a few laughs .
A sorry 4/10