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David Keating
Anna Walton, Naomi Battrick, Sam Hazeldine
Writing Credits:
Brendan McCarthy

Faith's world is turned upside down after she finds out that her beloved father is dying. When the mysteriously alluring Sissy Young becomes her new hockey coach, Faith has no idea that Sissy is the head of a witches coven that has resided in her home town of Orchard for centuries.

Rated R

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
English Uncompressed PCM 2.0
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 86 min.
Price: $29.98
Release Date: 4/5/2016

• “Making Of” Featurette
• Trailer
• Previews


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


Cherry Tree [Blu-Ray] (2015)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (April 14, 2016)

Back in 2009, director David Keating made a horror flick called Wake Wood. While I thought the film lacked consistency, it did enough right to intrigue me about Keating’s follow-up, 2015’s Cherry Tree.

15-year-old Faith Maguire (Naomi Battrick) finds herself emotionally adrift when she learns that her father Sean (Sam Hazeldine) suffers from a terminal illness. Sissy Young (Anna Walton) – the new field hockey coach at Faith’s school – befriends her and tries to help Faith in her time of need.

Sissy does so via an untraditional method, though: Sissy reveals that she leads a local witch’s coven. Sissy attempts to lure Faith into their clan with the promise that the young woman can learn ways to cure her sick father, though if she does so, Faith will have to pay a terrible price.

As I mentioned at the start, Wake Wood came with flaws, mainly because it petered out as it progressed. The film’s first half delivered something reasonably interesting in the Rosemary’s Baby vein, but the second half became less compelling.

At least Wake Wood mustered part of a good movie – I can’t make the same claim for the thoroughly silly Cherry Tree. Boy, does this movie seem goofy, and not in a good way.

I’d like to view Tree as an obvious attempt at camp, but I don’t think the filmmakers meant for it to be seen that way. While I won’t claim they intend for us to take the film 100 percent seriously, I suspect we’re supposed to interpret it in a reasonably “dramatic” light.

Unfortunately, the results seem silly and over the top. We find a lot of long, languishing shots of Sissy and the other witches as they do their supernatural thing, and these become laughable quickly. No horror or creepiness emerge – the results simply seem comical.

Even without the campy tone, Tree lacks an interesting story. It takes notions from a mix of other horror movies and develops them without any particular personality of its own. That leaves it as a conglomeration of influences in search of its own identity.

None of the actors add life to the proceedings. Battrick feels bland and flat, while Walton hams it up as the head witch. What school would hire this obvious nutbag?

Add to this more than a few Afterschool Special moments between Faith and her dad and Cherry Tree really fizzles. I hoped for an involving horror tale but just found a silly dud instead.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B/ Bonus D+

Cherry Tree appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Overall, the image worked well.

Sharpness seemed satisfying. A smidgen of softness crept into a few wide shots, but those remained minor. Nothing prevented the picture from a general sense of crispness. I noticed no issues with jaggies or shimmering, and edge enhancement caused no problems. Source flaws also failed to appear.

Tree went with standard orange and teal. Within the parameters of those choices – as cliché as they may be - the colors appeared well-defined, and the movie did throw in some reds to shake up the visuals. Blacks were dark and tight, while shadows seemed clear. This was a high-quality presentation.

I also felt pleased with the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1. Though not a rock-em sock-em soundtrack, the audio opened up well on enough occasions to create a useful soundscape.

This occurred most prominently during scare scenes, as those used the channels in an involving manner. Other sequences seemed less stimulating, but they still created a pretty good sense of environment.

Audio quality satisfied. Speech was natural and distinctive, while the mostly low-key score showed solid range and clarity. Effects appeared accurate and dynamic, with good punch when necessary. In the end, the soundtrack suited the story.

A Making of featurette lasts 11 minutes, 58 seconds. It offers notes from director David Keating, producer John McDonnell, writer/producer Brendan McCarthy, makeup and prosthetic designer Stephanie Smith, zoologist Michel Dugon, physical and digital effects designers Aoife Noonan and Ben O’Connor, production designer John Hand, and actors Naomi Battrick, Anna Walton, and Sam Hazeldine. We learn about story and characters, cast and performances, sets and locations, makeup and effects, and general thoughts. This becomes a mediocre look behind the scenes.

The disc opens with ads for Convergence, Deathgasm, Emelie and Traders. We also get the trailer for Cherry Tree.

Based on my experiences with the director’s last film, I hoped Cherry Tree would present a good horror experience. Unfortunately, all the positives I gleaned from that prior movie failed to emerge here, as Tree presents a derivative, campy tale without much merit. The Blu-ray brings us pretty good picture and audio but it lacks notable bonus features. Skip this lackluster thriller.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3 Stars Number of Votes: 1
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