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I was tricked into watching this film by a review, so I feel obligated
to give my own so there will be no more casualties..!
This movie can not really be called a thriller: there is no real suspense and nothing is surprising;you can tell how things will evolve from the first minute that the actual "plot" starts.
I actually fast forward it many times and compelled to rerun it, only to find that nothing had happened in between.
All in all, this was a wooden, disturbing presentation of a lower class youth, with a completely unsuccessful attempt to portray a dysfunctional family, lacking all definitions of any meaning of film.
Another hoody film.
A boring couple have their home invaded by some scumbags looking to exact revenge on their son. The usual tying up and degradation of the main characters takes place. The problem is I didn't care about them. The characters were so clichéd and one dimensional that I felt nothing for them.
The lead thug is just a ridiculous ball of unthinking testosterone that he's unbelievable. Couple this with his sidekick thug with a heart and it just gets stupider. I spent the whole film just hating the main thug, which I suppose was the intent. But I was just waiting to see him die and had no interest with anything else. Then just when you think the limits of believability can't be stretched any further, the thug's girlfriend shows up with her little brother in tow to watch. I think even an idiot would doubt a school child's ability to keep his mouth shut about witnessing the events which take place, but they let him stay all the same.
I'm not really a fan of the this kind of film but I had enjoyed the directors other films so I thought I'd check it out. Now I've seen it I never want to see it again.
Cherry Tree Lane is an urban thriller about a couple whose home is
invaded one night by a gang of youths who wish to harm their absent
son. While they wait for the boy, they mete out some physical and
psychological torture. Like all house-invasion movies this is a very
disturbing film. It's not entirely dissimilar to notorious exploitation
films such as House on the Edge of the Park (1980). Although,
admittedly, the sexual violence in this thriller is committed
off-screen unlike that earlier film's non-stop barrage of sexual
assault. Nevertheless, Cherry Tree Lane is certainly in the same
general ball-park, just toned down and with better acting performances.
All of the action is restricted to the interior of the house at the fateful address, generating considerable claustrophobia. The villains are typical London gansta youths - this is a house invasion movie for the hoody generation. It plays on middle-class fears of gangs of violent working-class youths. The young hoodlums seem to have come from a different world from their victims. They have no use for the contents that make up the unfortunate couple's home such as bottles of red wine or their DVD collection. This uneasy chemistry adds to the tension and adds a different undercurrent to proceedings. The film does stretch believability a little with the introduction of two teenage girls and a young schoolboy into the fray; they act as if this is a normal night out but it just seems inconceivable that they could be so blasé in this extreme situation. Nevertheless, the introduction of these characters does allow for the set-up in the final scene in the movie, in which things are left hanging on an unanswered question that leaves the viewer wondering if the horror of the night has in fact ended at all.
Overall this is not an easy film. It's intense and sometimes difficult to watch, and it truly offers no respite by the end. So Cherry Tree Lane is certainly not a film for everyone. But for those with a mind for something dark and troubling, it's a journey worth taking.
Over nearly a decade of seeing films at the EIFF you naturally come
across some bad films. Cherry Tree Lane falls into the category below
that, the one were referring to it as "film" is an insult to other
films. In short the whole "film" is a padding out of a 5 minute scene
from a drama club or the like that doesn't even manage to make a full
90 minutes (estimated 75 minutes). The dialogue could easily have been
improvised by the very young cast and the only directing tricks Paul
seems so posses is ultra close-ups or foreground-object whilst we watch
the scene in the background.
Leaving the second screening the audience were shocked at how bad the film was and for the second half, people were laughing at moments of apparent tension due to the complete lack of any substance or idea. The most laughable thing of all is this was actually up for the Audience Award! With one exception this is quite possibly the worst British film ever made (the worst being The Great Ecstasy of Robert Carmichael).
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I guess a lot of people will be disappointed by the movie expecting
either a funny games rip off or a modern day torture-porn movie by the
straight plot of "Cherry Tree Lane". Thank god its neither... the plot
is simple... a middle class couple sits at the dinner table when some
gangster friends of their son turn up, take them hostage and hint to
plans of killing their son for snitching on one of the gangsters
cousins. The couple is bound and gagged and they are waiting for the
son to come home. That is the basic setup... there is little dialog,
the unfolding is slow and all physical violence is shown off screen. So
this is no exploitation movie. From early on its playing on the
differences between the couple and the teenage gangsters. There is no
common ground here and its all in the little things like when they flip
through the DVDs, the choice of drinks and TV channels with lack of
interest. There are many similarities to movies like Eden Lake here,
especially because this movie takes things to one and another extreme
until the credits roll. At first I thought the idea of introducing 2
girls and their little brother in the mid of the movie was a bit off
reality but it made total sense in taking hints (like the constant
tossing of things) in how they all are as ignorant towards each other
as they are to the couple and the situation itself to a more direct
Its quite a different approach for this subject and many will focus on the violence itself or complain about a lack of on screen violence. This is not a movie for you, so stay away. And although I wouldn't put Funny Games and Cherry Tree Lane in one drawer this is a movie that serves many Haneke elements up until an end that does not resolve anything. Its a pretty bleak movie and its one in a row with many like Eden Lake, Harry Brown, London to Brighton etc. ... I guess its a sign of the times ... and Britain seems a lot more damaged than the rest of the world today.
"Ultimate Urban Horror" - only one thing in this tag line is correct - "urban" as it all happens in a city. Chery Tree LAne is one of the worst, pointless, slow moving films I have ever seen! Absolutely no suspense, no tension, no ... nothing! There is nothing you'd expect from a good thriller (not to mention a horror). After 30 minutes you feel like shouting at the thugs "Come on, guys, do something". It is like a 5 minutes worth of script (not very original script at that) made into 75 minutes worth of film by pointless and boring camera action and close ups. The baddies are as threatening as toothless pensioner on her way to a Bingo - she can hit you with her purse, but will ultimately do no damage. If you have 75 minutes to spare, have nothing better to do and you think watching this film might be a good idea, then ... don't! Just don't. You'd probably have more fun sliding down a banister made of razorblades into a pool of acid - which would be a preferred option to dying of boredom watching this piece of ... 'art'.
Despite noticing that this movie had probably gone straight to DVD I
thought I would give it a chance, but boy was I wrong.
From start to finish the whole movie was a 'must turn off' rather than a 'must see what happens at the end'. Not only did it take around about 10- 15mins to actually get into the plot (already taking up a sizable amount of the 74mins running time) but the plot never really happened- or if it did happen, I didn't really care. The storyline felt more ad-lib then written and almost felt as if it was meant to be a comedy, and a poor one at that. In fact the only redemption of this movie was the feeling that this film could be used as a perfect example of how not to do crime.
The only horror in this film was the acting, script and randomly thrown in spurts of unnecessary crude violence. A huge disappointment despite the 4 star ratings detailed on the box.
Cherry Tree Lane is a 70 minute Funny Games/Eden lake-esque 'horror' that sees a bunch of teens terrorising a not-very-happily married couple in North London. Despite the ridiculously short running time, Cherry Tree Lane is LONG. Too long. I found myself drifting in and out of consciousness listening to the pointless conversations that this film includes. Moments include the leader, shall we say, eyeing up 42-year old Christine, telling her to stand up "to see how fit she is" whilst her husband, gagged on the floor, is yelled at "don't look round at me, blud!" So basically, it's a group of chavs armed with knives, stealing credit cards and biscuits. They aren't JUST after money though, they want the couples son who's apparently not been able to keep his mouth shut about someone cousin...or something along those lines. There were some nice slow motion shots, but other than that, it's a very simple film with the only location being the house, well, the living room. There were a handful of tense moments that had me remotely wondering what was going to happen, however, it's all rather predictable. I didn't REALLY care what was going to happen at the end, although, I did hope the couple would execute some revenge if they were to escape. Overall, it's not the worst film in the world, but it's definitely not the best of it's type; Eden Lake and Funny Games are a lot better..and the teenagers seem too stupid in Cherry Tree Lane to carry out anything too horrific.
Was not impressed with this film , the majority of the acting was poor
although Ashley Chin who plays 'Asad' in this film was very good and
played a very convincing character and he should receive a great deal
of credit for this film, as he was the only person in the film that
didn't look like a 'first timer'.
The film had a slight impact on me and has a good story line for the majority of the film which did keep me on edge and eager to find out what is next, but then ends bluntly which made me feel like I'd wasted my time watching it as there's no summary to the story line and in my opinion is a complete fail. I will not be recommending this film to my friends but that does not mean to say that other people won't enjoy the film, but I stand firm on saying it's just not my cup of tea!
Cherry Tree Lane is written and directed by Paul Andrew Williams. It
stars Rachael Blake, Tom Butcher, Sonny Muslim, Jumayn Hunter & Ashley
Chin. Plot finds middle-class couple Christine (Blake) & Mike (Butcher)
suffering the ultimate home invasion hell when one night three youths
force their way into the house looking for their informant son.
It's the sort of plot that could have been gleaned from The News Of The World on a Sunday morning. Whilst not as horrific as Eden Lake, or as far fetched as Harry Brown, Williams' third film unsettles from the off and has much to say along the way. We begin with a slow zoom in shot of the front of the house, a middle-class suburbia that's comforting and a world away from the horror about to be unleashed. Then inside and Williams appropriately films an untended cooking pot coming to the boil as Christine chats on the phone in the back ground, the simmer to boil motif neatly setting us up for what is to come. Told in real time, Cherry Tree Lane's story never leaves the house, claustrophobia reins as our couple are trussed up and subjected to a terrifying ordeal. Pretty sparse in set up and location, then, but this is not just an excuse for some terror. Williams goes a bit more deeper with his themes, daring to delve into the psyche of Britain's unruly youths, neatly observing cultural class division and the ever widening gap between the generations. It's darkly humorous at times too, the bleakness of which has a cheek about it as the story runs its (collision) course.
Where Cherry Tree Lane differs from other film's of its ilk is that the violence is mostly done off camera, mercifully so during one extreme passage. The power of suggestion really comes to the fore as we hear but don't see. This lack of on camera violence will disappoint those who need it in their horror diet. So be advised gore seekers, this is unlikely to be the film for you. Williams also faces the problem of trying to avoid comparisons with the afore mentioned other film's, the likes of Funny Games and The Strangers. It can be said that the home invasion format is most likely now looking a bit tired, to that end Williams' British take is likely to only resonate with the self aware British public. But it is challenging and confrontational. The ending is a little too abrupt, and perhaps inevitably-implausibility creeps in. But for the most part this is unnerving stuff, a chilling tale executed with a realism that's not found in more glossy productions: with the final shot astutely serving to keep us agitated. 8/10
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