Cherry Tree Lane

The Rocky Middle Class Horror Show

Released in 2010, certified UK-Not Yet Rated. Reviewed on 21 Jun 2010 by Scott Morris
Cherry Tree lane image

Another film choice based on the reputation of the director here, with Paul Andrew Williams responsible for the well regarded London to Brighton and the less well regarded The Cottage. Unfortunately this criteria has failed me on this occasion.

In a house on Cherry Tree Lane, a middle aged couple settle down to a meal together while going through a minor argument or at least resigned discussion about the foibles of their relationship and character flaws. This all progresses in a slightly dull but adequate kitchen sink drama way, that's only a social class removed from a Ken Loach film.

This film takes a sudden turn when a group of three hoodie-clad youths barge into their home, have them bound and gagged, then make themselves at home while waiting for the couple's son to return. Seems he's squealed to the cops on something, resulting in one of the young thug's family members going to gaol. This is supposed to be payback calling.

Even the above, basic information has to be teased out over what feels like hours. I suppose the idea was to build tension by having the motivations for the teens' actions be mysterious for a decent length of time while the couple get significantly more terrified and, in the father's case, beaten.

It's well acted enough, at least on the parts of the adults, but you have to question what's going on with the attempts on the parts of two of the young thugs to humanise themselves somewhat by distancing themselves from the barely human leader of the gang. It's not like I have any need or motivation to distinguish or care about the various shades of thug involved.

Cherry Tree lane image

It doesn't work all that well, as it means that for a good chunk of the running time the film revolves around three little shits arguing about biscuits while two duct taped people whimper. Things eventually escalate somewhat later on, but by that point any attempts to build tension had been smothered by the tedium.

This is just about the most middle class attempt at a thriller cum horror that I've ever seen, and seems to have been custom built to appeal to Daily Mail readers. The general theme of nice stable professionals being terrorised by those scabby, scruffy lower classes has been knocking around for a while and I've done my best to avoid them, because I had a horrible suspicion that it would be horrendously forced, trite and socially irresponsible. In this case at least, I think I was right.

This isn't doing anything more than tapping into tabloid hysteria that, if crime figures rather than number of sensationalist headlines are to be believed, is entirely unwarranted. This is just an additional reason to dislike Cherry Tree Lane, but the main one reasons remain that it's really dull and not even remotely terrifying, meaning it fails at everything it tries.

Paul Andrew Williams
Cast list:
Rachael Blake (Christine)
Jennie Jacques (Beth)
Tom Butcher (Mike)
Jumayn Hunter (Rian)
Sonny Muslim (Teddy)
Ashley Chin (Asad)
Kieran Dooner (Oscar)
Corinne Douglas (Chaman)