Movie review time! Up this time is the latest from Image Entertainment, Cherry Tree Lane. Cherry Tree Lane is a thriller from across the pond written and directed by Paul Andrew Williams (The Children).
Cherry Tree Lane opens with an uncomfortable dinner between husband and wife Michael and Christine. The couple seem to have nothing left in common, save for their son Sebastian. While trying to find something to talk about, the two are interrupted by a knock at the door. In barges hoodlums Rian, Oscar, and Teddy who quickly overpower the couple and duct tape their hands, feet, and mouths. Rian (the ringleader) explains to the beaten parents that they are there for their son, and are gonna quietly wait for him to come home. After a little downtime, the boys begin to lose their patience while waiting for Sebastian and they take their frustrations out on the parents. Someone finally knocks at the door, but it’s more of the neighborhood kids who want to see what happens to Sebastian. Sebastian eventually makes it home, and like most home invasion movies the parents eventually get loose. What will happen when two angry parents get their hands on the hoodlums?
The home invasion/revenge genre has been worked to death. From classics like the obvious Last House on the Left or I Spit On Your Grave to the more contemporary Funny Games or The Strangers, there have been some extremely amazing fims. While not a bad movie by any means, Cherry Tree Lane doesn’t quite hold up with it’s predecessors. For starters, most of the movies violence happens off camera which works for awhile, but eventually begins to suck some of the life out of the movie. Another bad sign is when a movie is only 77 minutes long, and it feels like it’s dragging. Waiting for Sebastian to get home just takes too darn long.
I will say that the movie does have a creepy feel to it due to the fact that the antagonists are literally just kids. Cherry Tree Lane definitely feels like it could be a true story, and that’s so sad to think of teenagers being so mad at a schoolmate to stretch to such extremes, but it happens all too often. Also of note is that Cherry Tree Lane from a technical standpoint is fantastic. The movie looks great, and the acting is phenomenal.
While Cherry Tree Lane is an effective thriller, it is a tried and true formula that has been done better before. That does not mean that the movie is a total waste, as there are some excellent performances that make it worth a look. Look for Cherry Tree Lane now on DVD from Image Entertainment.