This is one of my favorite movies of all time because it’s one of those movies that is so bad it circles back around and manages to be so entertaining and wonderful. The film stars Nicholas Cage; most people probably are familiar with his “NOT THE BEES” scene and my personal favorite line, “what’s in the bag, a shark or something?” The only reason this really counts as a Halloween movie is because it’s supposed to be a horror movie, and is a remake of the 1973 film of the same name, which is far superior. The film follows a police officer who is contacted by his former fiancee who informs him that her daughter, Rowan, is missing and she needs his help. She lives with a strange matriarchal cult on an isolated island. He soon finds people are pretending Rowan never existed and he begins to suspect that she is going to be sacrificed. He races to save her before time runs out.
In the original film, the cult is not a matriarchal one, but a pagan one, and the police officer is a catholic. To be perfectly honest I can appreciate what the remake was TRYING to do. Horror films are often a reflection of society’s fears at the time when they are produced (I don’t think I’m stating anything groundbreaking here, but just so we’re on the same page). So in the early 70’s when young people were leaving the church at high rates and embracing a culture their parents couldn’t even begin to understand, the idea of a pagan society existing was scary, unsettling, concerning at the very least. Having a protagonist that was religiously devout being thrust into a pagan society, where his kind was not only unwelcome but going to be sacrificed, played on those fears.
Flash forward to 2006: being religious is not a necessity anymore, freedom of religion is generally enforced, and fewer people still are going to church. The idea of a pagan society isn’t that scary because it isn’t threatening the majority’s way of life. However, the fourth wave of feminism was just arising (although some contest it’s merely a continuation of third wave, but that’s not important) and more and more people were able to access feminist ideas and writings because of the internet and the early forms of social media. So I think it was an interesting way for director LaBute to attempt to update the story and make the threat a society that has far surpassed equality and become oppressively matriarchal. Unfortunately, it just doesn’t work… as a serious film. As a comedy though? GOLD.
Netflix available? Yes
Hulu available? No
Xfinity available? No
Holiday rating: 3 pumpkins