DVD Review: Cherry Tree Lane

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Image Entertainment is still very much neck deep in horror, and there are few better times for horror than January. Why not? It’s cold, so no one’s doing much outside that they don’t have to. It’s dark at a preposterously early hour, so why not close the blinds, shut off the lights, and settle in with some popcorn and a good old fashioned scare? But will “Cherry Tree Lane”, a copy of which our friends at Image Entertainment sent out for review. You won’t be able to get this one until January 29, though, so there will be a nice lag between here and release.

“Cherry Tree Lane” takes us to the titular lane in question, where a young family–father Mike, mother Christine and son Sebastian–has always felt safe in their suburban residence. But when that sense of security is shattered by a home invasion, the family is going to have to see just how far they can go to protect themselves…and whether their farthest will leave anyone alive to tell the tale.

Of course, the problem with home invasion stories, especially those that last any length of time, is that they have a tendency to devolve into torture porn as one of two things happens: the home invaders get bored and decide to “have some fun” with their victims in a fashion that anyone would call brutal beyond all reckoning, or the invaded homeowners get some payback for same in a fashion that should make any home invader that sees it think twice. That’s pretty much what happened in the remake to “The Last House on the Left”–you’d never believe a faulty microwave could do that much damage to a human skull–as well as the remake of “Mother’s Day” and several other such films. “Cherry Tree Lane”, meanwhile, seems content to spend a lot of time waiting around punctuating that with occasional bouts of brutality. Then toward the end, it will get weird, and a little depressing. Like they remembered that this sort of thing is supposed to be a lot more brutal, so they threw it all in toward the end.

Additionally, this is apparently a British production, and thanks to the spectacularly insensitive lack of subtitles around here, we’ll be dealing with British accents. And not the super-clear, highly-enunciated British accent, either, but the stuff that makes the dialogue sound like an episode of “The Simpsons”. About the first time someone yells out some kind of baffling dialogue, you’ll start to question if the dialogue is in fact in English or if it’s been translated from the original Klingon.

Special features here, sadly, will be quite lacking, with only trailers for “The Theatre Bizarre” and “Smile” to account for, not even a subtitle for the hearing impaired folks. That’s a development I’m never happy with, and frankly, I’d like to see more people shore up the numbers on that. The hearing impaired deserve a movie night like the rest of us.

I don’t know if “Cherry Tree Lane” was supposed to be making some kind of larger commentary about British youth culture or what, because frankly, as a horror movie, this is patently weak.  It’s slow, it’s rambling, it’s occasionally brutal, and frankly, it fails on most every level. It’s neither fish nor fowl nor good red meat, and frankly, the entire purpose of it defies me. You’re welcome, of course, to try and wring some sense out of this wet dishrag of a film, but from here, there’s not too much point in it.

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