CHERRY TREE (2015)
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Weird movie has high school girl Faith (Naomi Battrick) learning her father (Sam Hazeldine) has leukemia and being approached by witch, Sissy (Anna Walton from Hellboy 2 and The Seasoning House) with a proposal. Sissy and her coven will save her father’s life, if Faith agrees to have a baby for her. Once pregnant, Faith begins to have second thoughts, especially when she learns the child is to be used as part of a sacrifice. Can Faith find a way to save her child without sacrificing the life of her father?
Cherry Tree is the type of movie that you start out really wanting to like, but the film just gets increasingly awful and silly as it goes on. Irish horror is directed with a surprisingly stale hand by David Keating who made the spooky and effective Wake Wood with it’s silly and bordeline incoherent script written by Wake Wood co-scribe Brendan McCarthy. Not sure what happened here, as these two have delivered much better. But despite a few spooky moments and some interesting design work, this horror just gets worse and worse as it goes along. Even the scene set-ups appear amateurish at times and the script just gets more and more ludicrous as the film goes on, right down to the laughable final scene. These filmmakers have done far more competent work and that’s what is so puzzling about this flick, aside from it’s ridiculous story. Did Keating forget how to direct a movie? Some scenes almost play like there wasn’t a director on set and the actors were just winging it. There is a total lack or atmosphere or scares and considering the story, it is totally humorless and takes itself way too seriously. Though it’s not quite bad enough to make it funny and thus enjoyable on that level.
The cast are fine considering what they have to work with. Battrick is a decent heroine. A bit of a tough girl and that works considering what Faith is up against, though I question how quickly she decides witchcraft and teen pregnancy was a viable solution. Walton makes a creepy witch, though her role gets increasingly silly and what kind of a name is Sissy for a diabolical witch anyway? Rounding out the leads, Sam Hazeldine isn’t really given much to do and is adequate as Sean, Faith’s brave yet ailing father.
Not sure what happened here. Keating and McCarthy have teamed before with spooky and successful results. This flick is a silly mess tha gets worse and worse as it goes along. There are a few chilling moments and some of the imagery is effective, if not overused. It did have a bit of a unique look to it’s design work, but it’s wasted on a film that is unentertainingly looney and borders on incoherent at times. An odd mess from filmmakers who have been far more reliable in the past.
1 and 1/2 cherries.