I’m not entirely sure where to start with Treehouse. I suppose it would be appropriate to start with how excited I was the first time I saw the trailer. There’s something special and somewhat uncommon about a film simply depicting a bad person – or persons – doing bad things. We don’t always need a back story or a method to the madness. Sometimes things are scarier simply because we don’t understand them. Take the original Halloween for example. We didn’t know why the man in the mask was doing these things, and that made it terrifying. Then comes the remake. Painting a picture of a troubled youth – implying that Michael was just a victim of his surroundings. Motive (no matter how shitty) ruined the madness.
Treehouse struck me as a film with that “old school” sort of mentality. I set my expectation accordingly. For the first 10 minutes of the film, I thought I was spot on. A film style that I suppose could flatteringly be called “raw”. Legitimate tension created in equal part by both mystery and decent sound design. Topped off with an early glimpse of our villain. Unfortunately, this strong opening skids to a halt due to appearances by some of our genre’s favorite cliches. Girl runs into the woods….girl trips over nothing…girl is helpless…we then assume bad shit happens when we cut to our opening credits scene.
Some cliches aren’t all bad though. We meet our main characters in a stereotypical high school scenario. Complete with nerdy kid, bully kid, protective big brother, and the promise of a secret “get together” out in the woods later that night. Sure, thats a bit tired these days as well, but I’m a sucker for it. I feel its important to point out that this isn’t a cast of sexy late 20 or early 30 somethings pretending to be young kids. These are legit kids – and with that comes certain trade offs. Such as a more believable cast, but a cast with less experience. This leads to less than stellar performances almost all around. A couple aren’t so bad.
Once the movie gets rolling, you can’t help but get the idea that this isn’t what we were lead to believe. It doesn’t seem to be people doing bad things. It might be aliens…or maybe some other unidentified creature. Or wait, maybe they are people… or maybe they aren’t….but maybe they are. That’s the winding road that the film creates, and not in a good way. It casts so much uncertainty that -by the end of the film – nothing makes a whole lot of sense. They don’t even try to explain certain happenings.
But hey – this is a horror movie. It kind of comes with the territory. These sort of things can mostly be forgiven if there is a strong ending. One filled with redemption and “wow” moments. Some solid kills…something. Instead – we get none of that. What we get is the absolute worst dialogue of the film – and practically no ending at all. Such disappointment.