CHERRY TREE

PrintE-mail Written by Samantha Ward

With so much interest in folklore and folk-horror of late, it's only fitting that the director and writer of Wake Wood would continue the trend with yet another mysterious folk story of devil worship and rituals. Cherry Tree has very similar themes to Wake Wood; death, loss, and resurrection. It has an alluring British cast and many of the typical tropes to expect in a film about cheating death.

Starring Naomi Battrick as fifteen-year-old Faith, a girl in great turmoil after she finds out her father (Sam Hazeldine) has a terminal illness. Faith finds herself befriending her enigmatic new hockey coach, Sissy (Anna Walton), who also happens to be a descendant of a centuries-old witch’s coven. Sissy strikes a deal with Faith promising to save her father but in return, Faith must bear a child. Sissy's true intentions are soon revealed and Faith struggles to keep her end of the bargain.

It has much of the airy creepiness needed with an evil cherry tree as the source of dark magic, crawling with giant centipedes and hoarding a group of devotees to the hellion. The soundtrack, however, leaves a lot to be desired as it fails to match the atmosphere that the cinematography and special effects has generated. Although it was briefly mentioned at the beginning of the film, it would have been more interesting if the story delved a little deeper into the history of the tree and the coven that planned to evoke the devil for their selfish needs.

Suspenseful throughout, and with brilliant plot twists, it doesn't always pay off, however, making you wonder what the point of the entire scene was. There are certain moments that feel long drawn with little happening until the final act which builds up to a rather climatic and amusing ending. When we think about folk-horror we come to expect a certain amount of violence, sex, and gore. Director David Keating and writer Brendan McCarthy definitely fulfilled all these aspects with some shocking scenes of violence and gore towards the end, although it took some time to get there.

With a little more imagination and movie magic, Cherry Tree could have been a fantastic modern companion to films such as The Witch, but unfortunately, its plot is too much of a cliché. Despite this and its lack lustre in the music department, it is ultimately a fine folk-tale that for any fan of the subgenre would very much appreciate.

CHERRY TREE / CERT: 18 / DIRECTOR: DAVID KEATING / SCREENPLAY: BRENDAN MCCARTHY / STARRING: NAOMI BATTRICK, ANNA WALTON, SAM HAZELDINE, PATRICK GIBSON, ELVA TRILL / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW


 


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