The Wicker Tree (2011) | Robin Hardy’s curiously quirky satire is very much its own little beastie

The Wicker Tree (2011)

Robin Hardy’s The Wicker Man is the most celebrated British horror of all time – and for many fans, can never be equalled. So, when Hardy decided to film his 2006 novel Cowboys for Christ, which treads very much the same pagan path as the original cult classic, many fans and critics thought it sacrosanct to do so. Retitled The Wicker Tree for its world premiere at Frightfest in London back in 2011, I went in thinking I was going to loathe it, but I came out converted. Neither sequel nor remake, Hardy’s quirky offshoot is very much its own little beastie.

The Wicker Tree (2011)

Gospel singer Beth (Brittania Nichol) and her cowboy boyfriend Steve (Peaky BlindersHenry Garrett) head out of Texas to spread the word of the Lord in ‘godless’ Scotland. But the chaste singer and her fiancé are unaware that their purity makes them the perfect candidates for an ancient rite. The local laird (The Hobbitt‘s Graham McTavish) has hatched a plan to offer them up as a sacrifice to a pagan god in a bid to make the local population fertile again (an accident at a nuclear power plant has left everyone barren). But, as the May Day celebrations get under way, will the couple finally twig that they’re not just singing for their supper, they’re going to be supper as well?

The Wicker Tree (2011)

Blackly comic, with a host of fabulously eccentric characters, The Wicker Tree is a keenly observed satire that belongs to a different time – in many ways it strongly resembles Lindsay Anderson’s underrated Brittania Hospital. This companion piece to Hardy’s pagan original may not be to every fan/critics taste, but it’s so curiously quirky and deftly-written that it definitely deserves another go. Original star Christopher Lee pops up as an old gentleman.

Christopher Lee in The Wicker Tree

The Wicker Tree gets its UK premiere on The Horror Channel tonight (22 November) at 9pm, and is also available to stream on YouTube from Starzmediavod.

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About Peter Fuller

Peter Fuller is an award-winning print, radio and television journalist and producer, with over 30 years experience covering film and television, with a special interest in world cinema and popular culture. He is a leading expert on the life and career of Vincent Price and actively promotes the actor's legacy through publications, websites and special events.

Posted on November 22, 2014, in British Film, Horror, Might See, Might-See and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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