Cherry Tree Lane is this year's Eden Lake, with an ending just as shocking and abrupt. The film is confronting and the most raw home invasion film I've seen in years. The film starts out pretty simplistically with a slow boil pace, with an older couple that is settling down in their home for the evening to eat dinner. In a moments time they hear their door bell ring and what any person would do they answer it. Thugs burst through and demand their son who isn't there, they then duck tape them and wait helplessly bounded. The film is such a nail biter because the viewer for most of the time doesn't know what's going to happen next and when it does it's off screen, but you hear the horror and that is even more disturbing. The film boils over into one harrowing conclusion; it makes you think how far would you go to protect your family?
Just like such films as Eden Lake and Funny Games the performances are subtle yet powerful. The actors that play the troubled youths are a real standouts and you get to know a little about them and their flaws, than them just being figures of fear. All of the actors are pretty much unknown, which is a plus because you don't as high of expectations regarding their acting. Everything flowed in a tense, natural, gripping matter that made the viewing experience a mostly effective one.
Director and writer, Paul Andrew Williams has already established a pretty promising career so far in this genre, with films like London to Brighton, which I really want to see now, and his other works such as the pretty decent but not great The Cottage and the very solid and chilling, killer kids flick The Children, which he wrote the story for. I'm pretty excited about what he is going to come up with next because every new film seems to be very different and slightly better than the last. He knows how to create suspense, confronting drama and how to meticulously build suspense and terror. He then mixes it together with a dab of dark humor to effecting results. Keep an eye on him!
Overall, the film treads on a tired formula and doesn't have as much action, chaos or scares as some other more superior home invasion movies. The ending, though it kept me on the edge of my seat clutching the arms of my chair in anticipation of what's to come, left the viewer out cold of what the next move of the film will be. The conclusion bothered me because you don't really officially know the outcome. That being said Cherry Tree Lane is one of the most provocative British crime/thrillers I've seen in a while even though it's not that original.
6.9 out of 10