Tuesday, April 19, 2016

CHERRY TREE (Dark Sky Films Blu-ray) - Practical Effected, Occult Horror that Pops

I should have known when I saw that the director of Wake Wood directed Cherry Tree that I was in for one Hell of a movie. I loved the new Hammer movie, Wake Wood. It was gory, occult driven Horror that took place in Ireland and had some truly disturbing moments that kept me on the edge of my seat. It wasn't a movie that I could watch and be two steps ahead. Wake Wood kept me guessing, and the only thing that ended up bothering me about the movie was that it didn't get the acclaim that it should have received. I was hoping for it to be the move that blew up new Hammer. It didn't. That leads us to Cherry Tree which is coming to you courtesy of Dark Sky Films. Dark Sky has a habit of putting out truly good Horror picture that, at their worst, are entertaining and, at their best, test the audience with offering a unique perspective on the direction of the genre as a whole. Cherry Tree, on the surface sounds like it will entertain, but what it really does is grab you by the genitals and squeeze hard enough to excite and terrify.

I started off half interested in Cherry Tree. I wasn't all in. I didn't quite know if we were looking at another jump scare occult flick or if it had roots. The movie evolved nicely turning from what could have been a carbon copy of the recent demon baby trend into something darker and more original. That it is even a true occult film is not immediately evident, but by the time it emerges from generic it has you powerless and captured.

You won't expect the brilliant practical effects that come out later in the movie. They're absolutely worth waiting for and really act as a voice for the Horror community that wants more latex and silicone and less computer generated effects. Strangely enough, the most successful and effective occult Horror pictures as of late have been practically effected. Deathgasm, Starry Eyes and Demon's Rook really stand out as effective efforts though I would say that they differ in tone. Each of these pictures as been successful on some level, and each one highlights a new talent in the genre of which we must see more. I suppose that the use of practical effects proves that the zombie set isn't the only subgenre that can work on an independent film budget while getting maximum value out of the makeup.

I enjoyed the performances of each actor and while there is certainly some melodrama and overacting at times, that's almost the hallmark of the occult movie. Insane reactions that are really overreactions that succeed with eyes bulging, breath taken in hyperventilation and hammy performances that sell the son of Satan to the world. It's this type of performance that makes this particular genre quotable. It's why we remember Rosemary's Baby.

Cherry Tree is well shot and looks great in HD. The disc comes with a trailer and a making of featurette that is quite enjoyable. I was especially happy with the amount of time spent looking at the effect/makeup creation. I felt like I was watching a making of from 1988 and was excited to see how they put some of the end game together.

This isn't a demon baby movie. You don't have to worry about found footage or POV as a story telling vehicle. There are really two kinds of occult movies being made today. Those that try to capitalize on Rosemary's Baby with a modern take on the Anti-Christ and those that try to be like Devil's Rain, filled with covens trying to bring damnation to the Earth while launching an assault on humanity filled with charismatic cult leaders and well orchestrated rituals (and clever creature creation if you're lucky). Cherry Tree is closer to Devil's Rain. It's a story that will make you yell Hail Satan in your living room while rooting for the lead in the same breath.

Order you copy of Cherry Tree now.

From Dark Sky Films:



The Disturbing New Horror Film From the Director of 'Wake Wood' Comes to Blu-ray, DVD  and Digital HD on April 5, 2016

Evil takes root in the most unexpected place in CHERRY TREE, an original and deeply disturbing film about a desperate young woman drawn into a world of horror from which there may be no escape. From the director of the acclaimed Wake Wood, the film comes ONE EYED GIRL, a gripping and award-winning debut film about a young man drawn to a cult-like sect. The thriller comes to Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD on April 5, 2016.

Faith's (Naomi Battrick, Crossing Lines, Stonemouth) world is turned upside down after she finds out that her beloved father is dying. When the mysteriously alluring Sissy Young (Anna Walton, Reign, Hellboy II: The Golden Army) becomes her field hockey coach, Faith finds a compassionate spirit and much-needed mother figure. Little does she know that Sissy is the head of a centuries-old witches' coven that has resided in her hometown of Orchard for centuries. The coven uses the fruit of an ancient cherry tree in a bloody secret ritual that restores life to the dead and dying.

Offering to cure her father in exchange for a child, Sissy strikes a dangerous bargain with Faith, who suddenly finds herself pregnant with a baby that's growing at an alarming rate. But with the clock to the child's birth ticking down and the true intention of Sissy's plans for humanity becoming more apparent, Faith and her father must stand together in order to save both their lives.

CHERRY TREE is the sexy, gory and haunting new film by David Keating, the critically acclaimed director of Wake Wood, and the producers of The Hallow and Let Us Prey. A deeply satisfying shocker that boldly brings elements of Rosemary's Baby and Suspiria into a new cinematic era,CHERRY TREE was an official selection at the 2015 Fantasia Film Festival and FrightFest.

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