The Wicker Man: The Final Cut review

Your prayers have been answered by StudioCanal's deluxe release of this British horror classic

In many ways it's fitting that Robin Hardy and Anthony Schaffer's film about death and rebirth should itself have been reborn so many times.

This Blu-ray release collects no less than three different edits of their tale of a pious detective (Edward Woodward) lured to a remote island on the pretence of finding a missing girl, only to discover that he has a much greater – and more terrifying – role to play in the inhabitants' pagan rituals.

And no matter which version you prefer, The Wicker Man remains one of the most distinctive and disturbing films ever produced in the UK.

Picture: Disc One hosts The Wicker Man: The Final Cut, a 93-minute re-edit that makes use of a recently discovered 35mm release print that Robin Hardy put together to show US distributor Abraxas. While there's nothing here that most fans won't have seen before (and some scenes from the 'Director's Cut' are missing), the restored footage is of a higher quality that ever previously thought possible. The AVC 1.85:1 1080p encode does still noticeably lurch between beautifully detailed restored imagery and considerably softer inserts, though.

Disc Two hosts both the original 88-minute UK 'Theatrical Cut' and the 100-minute 'Director's Cut'. The former's AVC 1.85:1 1080p encode holds up very well in comparison to the best of …The Final Cut, while the latter is only presented as an anamorphic 1.85:1 standard-definition transfer.
Picture rating: 3.5/5

Audio: All three versions of The Wicker Man feature LPCM dual-mono soundtracks and they're about as good as you could ever hope the movie to sound. The crackpot dialogue is cleanly rendered, the musical numbers have a very natural range and there's no trace of any background distortion or other technical issues.
Audio rating: 3.5/5

Extras: The majority of the extras join …The Final Cut on Disc One and represent a mix of old and new material. The former includes the documentary Burnt Offering: The Cult of The Wicker Man, a US interview with Christopher Lee and Robin Hardy from 1979 and an archival trailer.

The new material on this platter takes the form of a restoration comparison, a new interview with Robin Hardy, a trailer for …The Final Cut and two featurettes – Worshipping The Wicker Man (23 minutes) and The Music of The Wicker Man (15 minutes).

Extras on Disc Two are an audio commentary for the 'Director's Cut' recorded for the 2006 DVD release and video footage from the commentary recording.

This Blu-ray release also includes the film's CD soundtrack, which wasn't made available for review
Extras rating: 4/5

We say: It's hard to imagine anybody putting together a better hi-def package for this cult horror 

The Wicker Man: The Final Cut, StudioCanal, Region B BD, £25 Approx