15th Feb2019

‘Between the Trees’ Review

by Alain Elliott

Stars: Greg James, Michael Draper, Jonny Lee, Dan Kyle, Marlyn Mason, Bethany Jacobs, Amber Stonebraker, Hannah Barefoot, Scott Thomas | Written by Sam Klarreich | Directed by Brad Douglas

Between-the-Trees-poster

The thing that drew me most to Between The Trees is that title itself. It’s unique and kind of intriguing and sometimes that’s all I need to get me interested in a movie… The story starts off pretty familiar to your average movie-goer. A group of friends (this time not actually young but middle-aged men) go to a cabin in the woods-like home for a get together which means they can get away from their family for a short time and have some fun. Then some strange things start happening. In this case it’s some weird creatures firing arrows at them, seemingly wanting to kill them.

What’s interesting about Between The Trees is that the human-like creatures attacking the group almost feels like a side story to what the director wants us to concentrate on. And that is (without spoiling things) an incident from the past that links all four friends. With this story comes just as much death as the beings that want to kill them but unfortunately it is a bit of a let down once you discover what it is all about. The creatures themselves are actually quite disappointing, so it was maybe a good choice to not have them as the main focus – their look isn’t very scary and the make-up/practical effects are not up to much at all. They never really seem that much of a threat if I’m honest.

I liked the idea of what the filmmakers were going for: a more character-driven horror movie is a brave move and they nearly pull it off – this is far from a bad film. The performances for the most part are solid but not quite good enough to push Between The Trees to something much better than your average low-budget horror. There’s some inexperience and at times it shows, while the dialogue isn’t perfect, this doesn’t effect my enjoyment but it does perhaps stop the movie becoming better than it is.

VisuallyBetween The Trees looks very good. It’s shot well, and the use of the woods is good. One of the big positives is the musical score – it’s not exactly original but it’s very good and it’s used just at the right times. The choice for the ‘final guy’ is a good one too. Just the fact that this is a guy somehow feels fresh (in truth there’s no female characters of note in the whole film) but also this particularly character is a slightly odd, if good, choice. It’s usually all too easy to predict who will be left in the final moments so I was happy to be proved wrong here.

What we are left with is a movie with some nice ideas and ambitions but cant quite reach the heights it wants to. Between The Trees is still worth a watch for horror fans that like directors who try something new.

Between The Trees will be available on Demand and Digital HD on March 5th and comes to DVD on June 11th.

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