The Wicker Man

Watch The Wicker Man

"Flesh to touch...Flesh to burn! Don't keep the Wicker Man waiting!"
  • R
  • 1973
  • 1 hr 28 min
  • 7.5  (92,292)
  • 87

In the 1973 British horror film, The Wicker Man, Sergeant Howie (Edward Woodward), a devoutly Christian police officer, is summoned to a remote island in Scotland to investigate the disappearance of a young girl. The devout cop is shocked to find that most of the pagan islanders have no interest in helping him find the missing girl, and instead, they are focused on their preparation for the upcoming May Day celebrations. Howie's investigation deepens when he discovers that the girl was a virgin and that the community plans to sacrifice her as an offering to their pagan gods to ensure a successful harvest.

As the investigation unravels, Howie discovers a sinister plot involving an islander named Lord Summerisle (Christopher Lee), who admits that the community encourages premarital sex to ensure more successful harvests. The local schoolteacher, Willow (Britt Ekland), invites Howie to a private room and seduces him, as part of the pagan ritual. Nevertheless, Howie remains determined to save the youngster’s life even if it means going against the islanders' customs and beliefs.

The film benefits from strong performances by the lead actors. Woodward’s performance as the grave and deeply religious Howie is compelling and provides a good contrast to the rolling landscapes and jovial dark humor of the islanders. Christopher Lee takes on the role of the enigmatic Lord Summerisle with gusto, showcasing his acting range and ability to play unique and multifaceted characters. The Wicker Man also features an outstanding soundtrack, with traditional Scottish folk music that adds to the film's overall eerie and menacing atmosphere.

The movie's visuals are stunningly effective in creating an isolated and otherworldly atmosphere. Many scenes were filmed during the bleak autumn winter months, which heightens the film’s chilling and foreboding tone. In addition, the remote island setting also adds to the movie's spooky and unnerving feel.

In terms of style, The Wicker Man is often linked to the psychological horror genre. There are no jump scares or gore in the film, but it still manages to be one of the most unsettling and disturbing horror movies ever made. Instead of relying on cheap thrills or special effects, the movie's horror emanates from its narrative, themes, and overall mood.

The Wicker Man is also notable for its exploration of religion and spirituality. Howie's presence on the island as a religious symbol challenges the pagan beliefs of the islanders. The film's climax, which involves a pagan ritual, seems to be a commentary on the decline of organized religion and the rise of alternative belief systems that often offer a more intimate and personal form of spirituality.

Overall, The Wicker Man is a haunting and thought-provoking film that explores themes of religion, tradition, and human sacrifice. Its masterful storytelling, excellent acting, and eerie soundtrack make it a classic of British horror cinema that has remained a cult favorite and an influence on generations of horror movie makers.

The Wicker Man is a 1973 horror movie with a runtime of 1 hour and 28 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.5 and a MetaScore of 87.

The Wicker Man
Where to Watch The Wicker Man
The Wicker Man is available to watch, stream, download and buy on demand at Amazon Prime, Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent The Wicker Man for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 28 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.5  (92,292)
  • Metascore