Cherry Tree (2015) Review

Decided to watch this Irish film as something a bit different, I saw that it opened Frightfest in London so for no other real reason than curiosity I sat down and gave it a go…..

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Director: David Keating

Writer: Brendan McCarthy

Stars: Naomi Battrick, Patrick Gibson, Sam Hazeldine

Run Times: 85 minutes

The film opens with a couple of women in a bar but after sharing a kiss one seems to get nervous and leaves suddenly. On her way home she is kidnapped by three dodgy people wearing sack masks and then she appears to be sacrificed whilst tied down under the roots of a tree. This scene is reasonably bloody and pretty damn good make up and effect wise.

We’re then taken to a class room where a lad is talking about the folk lore of witches that sacrificed people under a magical cherry tree. So given that there was some brief writing at the start that told us about a witch who tries to find a woman to bring forth the Devil we can assume we’re getting a witchy film.

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Naomi Battrick plays the part of Faith pretty damn well

Here we meet the protagonist Faith (Naomi Battrick) she seems to be bullied a bit but not so much as to become a victim, it also appears that she only has one friend and is close to her father. Her father is diagnosed with leukemia and is told he doesn’t have long to live, it just so happens that Faith has met a women called Sissy (Anna Walton) who is a witch and head of an old coven.

Sissy knows about Faith’s dad and goes about inserting herself into Faith’s life. She shows Faith the room filled with roots and tells her she can cure her dad but she has to do something for her in return. Turns out Sissy wants a baby so out goes a 16 year old Faith to have sex with someone and bring forth the devil baby into the world.

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Anna Walton makes a fantastic leader of the coven of witches

However Faith ends up having second thoughts and in the end she tries to fight off the coven and save the baby. It’s here where the film is at it’s best, there’s even an unexpected chase scene as more members of the coven reveal themselves. All this leads to a final scene with Faith running through corridors and trying to take the child from the coven and get revenge on Sissy for all the things she’s done to Faith.

The Good

The make up and effects for what I presume is a relatively low budget film are fantastic, from the weird centipedes that seem to be crawling about all over the place to the gory deaths everything is spot on.

That brings us to the gore, now this film isn’t a gore fest but when it does have some deaths they are brutal and they are gory. There’s people falling on spikes, people’s faces being set on fire, centipedes crawling into peoples bodies, these are all really well executed and never ever looks fake.

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They love a good sacrifice so they can eat the blood soaked cherries

Both Naomi Battrick and Anna Walton as the two main characters play their parts brilliantly, especially Anna Walton as Sissy the evil witch. She’s the queen from Hellboy 2 and has the perfect look for her part in this, so whoever cast her did a fantastic job.

The story is something we’ve seen, read and heard quite a bit through the horror genre, young girl tricked into bringing forth the spawn of Satan/the devil himself. Whilst the overall story doesn’t bring anything too new to this type of film it is a film that’s springs a few surprises and some unpredictable moments throughout.

The Bad

From reading the IMDB forums and generally browsing about the film there seems to be some confusion in the final few scenes. Faith is helped by someone who died but the viewers can’t seem to tell who it is, there’s only two possible people so maybe the film should have been more clear about this.

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There’s always someone looking to bring forth the Devil

There’s a few things that annoyed me about the story, why would Faith pick that person to be the father and not some random bloke as to avoid hurting someone she cared for. Whilst the ending is good there’s a part of it that suggests Faith is slightly evil herself.

Also what kind of father leaves his bedroom door open while he has sex with someone knowing his daughter is at home? Picky maybe but still a bit annoying.

Overall I enjoyed this film more than I thought I would, as I mentioned it doesn’t bring too many new things to the sub genre but what it does do is take us on a solid story with lots of surprises thrown in here and there. The deaths were perfectly executed throughout the film and looked top notch! I’d recommend giving this a watch if you’ve got 85 minutes or so to spare and can’t decide what to put on.

Overall Score

69

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