An action-packed thriller about the unenviable fate of a stranger who dared to challenge a sinister cult.
Police officer Edward Meylus, played by Nicolas Cage, patrols the roads in the vicinity of a provincial town. He had a conversation with a nice female driver and her daughter, and in front of his eyes a heavy truck crashed into the car, flying at great speed. The man tries to save the girl, but is thrown aside by the explosion.
A police officer is in rehab after an injury and receives a letter from Willow’s ex-fiancee, who asks for help. Together with her daughter, she lives on the small island of Summersail, but the girl has disappeared. The officer is on his way. The man learns that strangers are not liked on private territory, there is no telephone connection. Local residents meet the cop with hostility, evasively answer questions. Meylus enters a cozy tavern and meets Mrs. Beach (Diane Delano), who reluctantly agrees to host an unwanted guest. A police officer runs into an ex-lover (Kate Beahan) and finds out why she left him years ago. The girl makes excuses that she was afraid of cardinal changes in her life, but everything is in the past, and the most important thing is to find Rowan. Woodward pleads not to trust anyone but her.
In the hotel room, Cage’s hero realizes that someone has been rummaging through his things. He witnesses the conversation of strange inhabitants of private lands, they are waiting for the return of the wicker man. At night, a patrol officer sees a child running away and follows him. Looking around the attic, he almost falls from an impressive height.
Edward questions Hanni’s sister (Leely Sobieski), but she claims she doesn’t know the missing person. The teacher (Molly Parker) and the students also deny the existence of Rowan, but the cop sees the girl in the lists of the school magazine. Rose reveals that she died, burned to death. Meilus finds a fresh grave. The heroine Kate Beahan does not believe in her daughter’s death. She tells the officer about the powerful Sister Summersile, who was very unhappy with the woman’s desire to leave the commune. The girl admits that Rowan is his daughter. The cop examines the child’s room and finds out the circumstances of the disappearance.
Cage’s character wants to contact his colleagues using the pilot’s radio. He makes his way to the plane and finds a broken radio. Edward asks Dr. Moss (Frances Conroy) to print out a picture from last year’s Harvest Day. His attention is drawn to a book about ancient rituals. Meilus waits for the doctor to leave the house. He enters a cute-looking dwelling and stumbles upon terrible things – alcoholized babies in glass flasks. He managed to find a photo of the girl, which has the inscription: “Rowan is a symbol of fertility” and the note “the worst honey harvest in history.”
The policeman asks Willow all about the local rites and hurries to talk to the Big Sister. Nicholas’s character finds himself next to huge beehives, he is mercilessly stinged by bees. Meilus is allergic, he takes a syringe with medicine from his jacket pocket, but does not have time to give a saving injection.
Edward woke up in Summersile’s house. An elegant lady (Ellen Burstyn) told him the story of the creation of the community. Her ancestors, in order to avoid the oppression of women, settled on this island. Sacrifices take place in the name of the Mother Goddess, who rules this territory, and the sister is her earthly viceroy. Men are needed for reproduction, and only strong representatives of the opposite sex are chosen for fertilization. The cop obtains permission to exhume his daughter’s body and finds a burnt doll in an open grave. Meylus finds a passage to the dungeon, dives under the water and finds himself locked in a flooded trap. His beloved saves him.
Rose informs the officer that the feast of death and rebirth is coming. The father, distraught with grief, rushes home and looks for his child. He comes across the corpse of an old pilot. The cop, after stunning Mrs. Beach and Hannah, puts on a bear costume and rushes to the festival. He sees a baby tied to a post, knocks out the guards and removes the ropes. Dad and daughter run into the forest, and Meylus can barely keep up with the blond angel. She leads him to a large clearing, in the center of which is a woven idol, and sectarians stand around. The High Priestess explains that he has been a puppet all this time. The male is a drone to be sacrificed. Edward is attacked, placed in the center of the structure, and Rowan sets the effigy on fire. A crowd of fanatics watches with delight as a man burns alive.
Two handsome guys are bored in a bar. She is happy about the appearance of two beautiful strangers. Hannah and Willow went hunting.
The meaning of the film
The work of director Neil LaBute focuses on the relationship of the sexes. There is a hypertrophied matriarchy, women are the highest caste, they control society, their word is weighty. Men are silent, submissive and fearful, doing all the dirty work. The cult of the bee is notable, the creators of the tape draw a parallel between the commune and the hierarchy of the insect family, where there is a queen, worker bees and drones, which quickly disappear.
The theme of a sect, pagan culture, worship of bloodthirsty deities that require sacrifices for the good of society runs like a red thread. Fanatics, who have absorbed the ideology of perverted feminism with their mother’s milk, do not feel remorse and pity for strangers, for “Don Quixote”, who fights against windmills. And the knight of a sad image, armed with a pistol and the letter of the law, the messenger of civilization, cannot resist the savages, whose handbook is a manual on rituals.
Characteristics of heroes
Edward is a determined and courageous man. He was not afraid to go alone to the mysterious island and courageously resisted the madmen in order to save his daughter. Often acts recklessly. Responsive, despite the resentment he felt towards his ex-fiancee, he came to the rescue. The officer has an inquisitive mind, he carefully and painstakingly collected evidence, abstracting from personal experiences.
Willow is an insidious woman who skillfully pretends to be a grieving mother and a lover who regrets the separation. Along with the satisfaction of making a sacrifice, sparks of pity and remorse flicker on her face. She had warm feelings for the father of her child, but the unwritten rules of the sect were above all else.
Sister Summersile is the head of the community. Calculating, cunning and cruel, unshakable in her convictions. He makes his own daughter the main weapon, a bait that naive “drones” from the civilized world “peck” at.
Sisters Rose, Hanni, Moss, Beach are obedient clergymen.
The film by Neil LaBute is a remake of the 1973 film of the same name. The “foundation” of the plot has not changed much, but in the “fresh” version there is such an innovation as the formation of matriarchy. The theme of the dominance of the feminine over the masculine prevails over the former emphasis – the struggle of a religious cop with a pagan hell.
Fans of the detective thriller note Cage’s work, his signature exhilaration and rich facial expressions, just in time. The actor masterfully played a storm of emotions: the bitterness of loss, hidden fear, anger, anger and despair. A separate little world with sun-drenched locations, a picturesque forest, houses with a special flavor pleases the eye. The picture is accompanied by a soundtrack by composer Angelo Badalamenti, which deserves special praise.
Despite the stellar composition and the winning theme, the tape caused criticism from the public and critics, it was nominated for the Golden Raspberry anti-award as the worst film. A flurry of complaints about the illogical behavior of the leading character, who does not notice the obvious alarm bells, which, by the end, sound like an alarm. It is not entirely clear why the burnt mother and girl appeared in the plot, their line is not disclosed. The creators of the “masterpiece” diligently pump up suspense using hackneyed tricks, but the unexpected appearance of a raven, wandering around the attics, crypts, sinister houses, constantly eluding daughter does not make the viewer hold his breath. And the most important question: “Why did the Salem witches stage a theater of the absurd, forcing the drone to rush about in search of the baby?” After all, he could leave the race at any moment, die, and then the wicker giant would remain empty.
The ending of the thriller contains a command to hot guys: “Be careful with strangers in the bar. The hour is uneven, you will find yourself burned in a huge effigy.