Cherry Tree is about a choice.  Most people would do anything for their parents, right? Sure, there are the minority who had a terrible childhood or didn’t know their parents… but for most of us, we would go through a lot to help them out. Now what would you do if your dad was sick… really sick… dying sick? Would you go into debt to give him a last trip, or just spend as much time as possible with him? Would you offer your body and soul to a witch as a sacrifice to the dark lord? This is the choice that Faith (Naomi Battrick) has to make, and it gives Irish occult horror film Cherry Tree its plot.

Faith’s world is turned upside down after she finds out that her chef dad (played by Sean Hazeldine) is dying. When the mysteriously alluring Sissy Young (Anna Walton) becomes her new hockey coach, Faith doesn’t know that Sissy is the head of a witches’ coven that has been residing in her home town of Orchard for centuries. Using the fruit of an ancient cherry tree and giant centipedes in a bloody ritual, the witches can bring the dead or dying back to life.. for a price. Sissy offers to cure Faith’s father and lures her into accepting a deal that she doesn’t understand the consequences of.  One thing Faith should have known, even as a teenager, was to not fuck with witches.

On the surface, Cherry Tree is a like a lot of other witchcraft movies. You get the vibe of Rosemary’s Baby without the substance. That’s the big problem, there isn’t much below the surface.  The film’s characters state “Death is only the beginning” over and over again, but we never really know what they’re talking about.  There were parts of the movie where I was downright bored and anxiously awaiting something to happen…anything. The acting isn’t bad. in fact, the cast is very talented.  The problem comes with the dialog, pacing, and an excess of buildup with very little payoff. Ever Sir Laurence Olivier couldn’t have made this shit sound good.

Some of the effects that look cool at first keep getting recycled and long overstay their welcome. Others (a firey death scene comes to mind) just look bad.  That being said, the majority of the film looks good enough.  The sets are well constructed, the shots are on point, and the sound/musical composition adds mood and a pinch of excitement every once in a while.  But ultimately, you end up with A LOT of centipedes going in and out of orifices ripped into the bodies of certain characters. Seriously… the giant centipede thing is done to death here, but for every overused and lame effect, there are just as many retro bad-ass effects.  Most of the good stuff is saved for the bat shit-crazy finale though. Even if you never want to watch this movie, you should watch the last 10 minutes. Or not – whatever.

Cherry Tree is a film that takes a story that has been done many times before and fails to add anything new to it.  While the cast is very talented, the story and dialog gives them very little to work with.  If it weren’t for a completely balls-to-the-wall finale, I would probably write this one off altogether.  That being said – watch it for the last 10 minutes.cherrytree

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