Bil’s rating (out of 5): 0.5.
USA/Germany/Canada, 2006. Warner Bros., Alcon Entertainment, Millennium Films, Redbus Pictures, Saturn Films, Emmett/Furla/Oasis Films, Equity Pictures Medienfonds GmbH & Co. KG III, Nu Image Entertainment GmbH, Brightlight Pictures. Screenplay by Neil LaBute, based on the screenplay by Anthony Shaffer. Cinematography by Paul Sarossy. Produced by Nicolas Cage, Boaz Davidson, Randall Emmett, Norman Golightly, Avi Lerner, John Thompson. Music by Angelo Badalamenti. Production Design by Phillip Barker. Costume Design by Lynette Meyer. Film Editing by Joel Plotch.
Nicolas Cage was such a big fan of the original Robin Hardy classic that he commissioned this remake, directed by Neil LaBute and now set on the American west coast (though it’s actually filmed in British Columbia). He plays a police officer who, following a failed attempt to save a mother and child from a burning car, is sent a letter by a former lover. She reveals to him that she bore a child not long after they split up, and that the girl has gone missing in her isolated island village, an issue that no one will discuss with her. Cage visits this quiet hamlet to investigate the matter and finds a female-dominated, pagan society with what he considers strange harvest rituals and rude schoolteachers (Molly Parker in particular). Going deeper into his sleuthing he begins to suspect that not only has the little girl been taken by the townspeople, but that they have evil plans for her involving some kind of ritual, but he doesn’t know what it is. Everything that was eerie and mysterious about the original has become hammy and overdone in this pitiful remake, whose faults are so numerous that they are not even worth describing in detail. Ellen Burstyn still manages to emerge without too much dirt on her despite the trappings, but Cage is just hopelessly embarrassing; by the time you reach the climactic ending (which has not been changed from the original, fans will be glad to know), you’re induced more to laughter than to chills.