For today’s reading, I present to you CHERRY TREE LANE – a movie that brings us back to the question of: does an excellent ending make up for an hour’s worth of bullshit? In this case – three thugs bust into a nice, suburban home, bind the couple living there and sit around talking for almost an hour of real-time, waiting for their son to come home from wherever he is. They smoke some dope and watch some TV and eventually one of them goes to the bedroom and has his way with the mom – but that’s all off screen. While he’s doing that, one of the other guys rolls a joint and talks about how much he likes weed.
Eventually – after over an hour of this, some other kids show up and smoke some grass, and then the son comes home. Up to this point the violence had been pretty minimal ~ but brutal ~ but this is when it really ramps up and the last 15 or so minutes are FUCKING GRIM! We can argue and disagree and that’s what makes us all unique but, FUCK, the end of this movie actually had me shaken up. I don’t know if it’s because of what I ate or what, but I actually had some wobbly legs when I finished this and got up to go have a smoke.
Here’s the spoilers – after the son gets home they drag him kicking and screaming up the fucking stairs and we hear a merciless beating and torture going on up in his room. The dad finally panics for good and gets free and wobbles to the bedroom to check on his wife – who we had heard being raped and beaten earlier. He slowly moves to the heap of a body tied to some sort of heating device, buried and crumpled under a rug. You just know that she’s going to be all mangled and bloody and he pulls the rug away and she’s alive and nude and bloody and screaming. That part was really tense for me.
So he grabs a giant flower holder (I think), makes his way upstairs and starts beating these kids over their heads with it. There’s no sappy punch-someone-and-it-makes-a-sound-effect-like-a-firecracker-going-off bullshit. It’s THUNK SCREAM THUNK THUNK THUNK THUNK THUNK BLOOD BLOOD BLOOD. Some of the kids go off running and get away as the dad makes his way to the son’s room. Then he turns the corner and sees what they’ve done to his kid and the anguish in the actor’s voice was heart breaking and then he bludgeons and bludgeons the ring leader of them all while the mom slowly makes her way into the room. Those shots of her holding and kissing his tortured and bloody body were fucking tough to look at and then we wind down to the actual end that, personally, I really liked.
I don’t normally do “home invasion” movies because, quite frankly, they’re usually pretty realistic and I love my home and my family and I don’t want to think about anything like that ever happening, so movies like this usually hurt my feelings. The only reason I gave this one a shot was because it was done by the director of one of my favorite horror comedies THE COTTAGE – Paul Andrew Williams – and I don’t really know what else to say. Boring as hell for most of the film but the end really grabs you by the sack and makes you grit your teeth and wince and go “GOD DAMN!!!”
What do you guys think about movies like this? Movies where nothing much happens but the end is a real doozy??