Directed by: David Keating
Run time: 86 minutes
The Lowdown: We need more good movies about witches. It’s a small but growing subgenre of
horror that has never truly had its proper day.
But with films like Cherry Tree, and the critically acclaimed theatrical release “The Witch,” it
seems like maybe people are starting to pay attention.
Cherry Tree is an absolute blast. It’s dark, gory as hell and blessed with a vibrant eroticism that
adds a delicious tingle to its story about a young girl with a dying father who makes an
unfortunate commitment that she doesn’t truly understand.
Director David Keating previously helmed “Wake Wood,” a Hammer-style horror film that was long
on mood and build-up but not necessarily thrilling and pulse-pounding. He definitely course corrects
with Cherry Tree, serving up one gruesome episode after another, while concocting a
vibrant vision of witchcraft at its most evil incarnate.
Is Cherry Tree a perfect film? No. It has gaps in logic, some predictable swerves and the ending
employs one of the worst tropes in horror, but it all comes together impressively well for an
immersive, creepy experience.
This is one to definitely check out.
The Stuff You Care About:
Hot chicks – Very hot.
Nudity – Gratuitous.
Gore – Considerable.
Drug use – Depends on what you define as a drug.
Bad Guys/Killers – Witches, man.
Buy/Rent – Buy it.
The Hallow (Shout! Factory, 97 minutes, Unrated, Blu-Ray): Writer-director Corin Hardy has crafted
a taunt, effective home invasion/creature feature that introduces some truly unnerving monsters.
The Hallow is a cautionary tale and a fairy tale all in one. It takes urban legend and amplifies the
muffled whispers of rural villagers into a full-blown subterranean assault. More than I loved The
Hallow, I walked away with a confidence and deep curiosity as to what Hardy might create next.
He is truly a director that should be on your radar.
#Horror (Shout! Factory, 90 minutes, Unrated, Blu-Ray): Writer-director Tara Subkoff’s melodramatic
slasher is the film equivalent of a daytime soap complete with over-the-top turns by stars Chloë
Sevigny and Timothy Hutton as estranged parents. It’s also a finger-on-the-pulse thriller about the
dangers of cyber bullying and what might happen when one pre-teen girl simply can’t take any
more “mean girl” abuse. And, at times, it’s a complete mess awash in curious candy-coated
animation and selfish millennial angst. Is it good? That’s a matter of personal taste. Is it
watchable? Highly, frustratingly so.
The Hoarder (Image Entertainment, 86 minutes, Unrated, DVD): Poor Mischa Barton. The former
star of Fox’s “The O.C.” just can’t catch a break. She’s better known for tabloid fodder than her
growing IMDb acting portfolio. And she shouldn’t expect The Hoarder to change that any time
soon. The Hoarder is a silly, illogical, undercooked horror feature about a self-storage facility
with a dark secret kept chained deep within a subterranean chamber. Barton stars as a woman
convinced her fiancé is keeping secrets from her, so she steals his ID card key and goes to the
storage facility to check out his super-private bunker. Of course, there’s also a handful of other
folks randomly wandering the facility as it’s about to close. One of those poor, sad sacks is Robert
Knepper. who plays so far over-the-top that you eventually wonder if he’s going to pop his tether
and float off screen like a helium balloon. The Hoarder isn’t even competent enough to mask its
lack of originality by populating its seemingly interminable run time with crazy kills. Personally, I
have seen episodes of A&E’s “Hoarders” that are more unsettling.
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