Cherry Tree Lane was one of my most anticipated movies of the EIFF 2010. Director Paul Andrew Williams, who previously did the nonsense blood-fest The Cottage and the powerful London to Brighton, has some serious talent which, when utilized correctly, delivers some extremely affecting viewing.
Unfortunately Cherry Tree Lane isn’t an example of that. Instead, despite some convincing performances, it’s a pointless and unrewarding film that does nothing new with the home invasion thriller we’ve seen so many of over the years.
The film starts with a couple coming home from work and sitting down to dinner in their living room. There’s obviously marital tension and resentment between them and we stay for quite a while just watching them having dinner and talking, the conversation verging on turning into a full-blown argument.
The doorbell rings and the woman goes to answer it. She comes back and says it was friends of their son, Sebastian, who's at football practise. A few moments later the doorbell rings again and the couple presume it’s just more of their son’s friends. However, out of nowhere three young men burst their way into the house and take the couple hostage, injuring both of them and revealing they are there to hurt their son for spreading stories of their “activities.”
That’s the basic premise of Cherry Tree Lane, and it’s not too dissimilar to that of most home invasion thrillers. But that’s just one of the many problems the film has. We’ve seen tons of these kinds of films before and thus any new offering must either do something totally new with it or just do it really well.
Since the film doesn’t do the latter, the onus must fall on it being different. But unfortunately it doesn’t do that. Instead it just presents this scenario, runs with it for 80-odd minutes, and then abruptly ends, with no real sense of satisfaction or reward for time and effort spent.