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The Wicker Man Review

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

not for kids

Adult chiller about modern pagans -- no Hogwarts.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this is a more intensely erotic film than the 2006 remake (though the newer, PG-13 version is more violent, thank you MPAA). While it shows up championed in lots of horror-movie reference books and fan magazines perused avidly by kids, this film is very adult in its themes and pace. There is much female nudity, sex (or attempted seduction), and a threat of human and animal sacrifice. Specific to religion, the conflict of Christianity and revived ancient pagan worship is the underlying theme.

  • Families can talk about the religious element of this film. It's stronger here than in a lot of run-of-the-mill chillers (the remake included). Are the friendly people of Summerisle truly "evil" in the typical movie sense? And how and why would Judeo-Christian values and ethics made their behavior very different?

The good stuff
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    Messages: This is an especially troubling horror film in that "evil" triumphs, or at least the antagonists with lethal designs on the main character carry out their plans successfully. There is just a hint at the end that their punishment lies down the road. The hero is depicted as a firm, upstanding, and devoted Christian, though some of those very traits drag him to his fate.

What to watch for
  • violence false3

    Violence: Some tussling. A man is knocked out and tied up. A fire kills another (along with some animals), but little is shown directly.

  • sex false5

    Sex: Nudity (mostly female) in fertility rites, outdoor lovemaking, and a woman surprised in the bathtub. Frank talk about sexual symbolism, and topiary hedges that look like male genitalia. Bawdy singing.

  • language false3

    Language: Some profanity.

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Advertising is one curse the cultists of Summerisle didn't rediscover!

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false3

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Social drinking; repeat visits to a jolly British pub.