The Wicker Man is a horror movie, but it’s not about human sacrifice or bloated corpses or empty graves (though each makes a half-hearted appearance). No, director Neil LaBute has something far more sinister on his mind: a ghoul that keeps him awake at night, that gnaws cruelly at his most vulnerable vittles; an unholy terror sure to bring ruin upon us all. Sisters. Doin’ it for themselves.
On the matriarchal commune of Summersisle (“a tiny place in Puget Sound”), a brave cop named Edward Malus (Nicolas Cage) searches for a missing child. In perhaps the least-nuanced metaphor in all of film—nay, all of art—LaBute envisions his uncanny island as a giant beehive. The women are like loyal worker bees. They pollinate and make honey and pack a sting. Also, they literally raise bees. The men on the island are like drones. They are mute. All they do is lift stuff and breed with the other bees, especially the Queen Bee (Ellen Burstyn). She literally calls them “drones.” Edward Malus is not a bee. In fact, he is literally allergic to bees. His allergy is also figurative. This season, the honey has dried up, and the bees need a blood sacrifice to, you know, start the flow.
Obscene anti-feminist propaganda that it is, The Wicker Man is almost too retarded to be offensive. The women are mysterious and tricky and beguiling, like evil vaginas. Malus is strong and thrusty and straightforward, like a hero-penis. When Malus stumbles into the schoolhouse, he witnesses this exchange: “Tell me what man represents in his purest form,” says the schoolteacher. “Phallic symbol, phallic symbol,” chant the eerie little girls. Bees are so sexist.