Movie Review - Treehouse
To call Michael G. Bartlett's Treehouse 'child-like' is not to say that the film is childish or immature, but instead to say that it plays quite skillfully on our childhood fears of the unknown by simply leaving much to the imagination. Our focus is instead directed to the reactions of the young protagonists, rather than being filmed from their perspective, which only adds to the sense of mystery and wonder that the director is able to create. Based on a script penned by relative new comers Alex Child and Miles Harrington, Treehouse succeeds where many other films fail — in the execution of the material. The writing, acting, directing, music and cinematography all come together to create a dark and rich visual tone that lets the slow burning tension simmer. This film is subtle and beautifully layered, though the film's conclusion (however fun) did not match the tone of the rest of the movie, and felt a little bit out of place. The film is currently being slammed by those who need their horror films spelled out for them and can't live without blood and gore, and if you are one of those people you will indeed be disappointed. But overall, I would recommend you check out Treehouse, now available on iTunes and DVD.
A young boy named Killian heads into the woods with his older brother Crawford to meet up with some friends, but when the others stand them up they decide to head deeper into the woods toward a clearing where they can light off some fire works. But when the fireworks shed light upon an abandoned old treehouse high up in the air, they decide to explore. But once inside they discover that they are not alone when they find a victim of one of the recent kidnappings plaguing their town, And soon the trio must summon the courage to face the unknown entities that await them outside.
I found the three leading characters to be completely believable and, even more importantly, they were able to channel that amazing child-like quality that makes their helplessness palpable. J. Michael Trautmann and Dana Melanie have a natural onscreen chemistry that makes their connection feel innocent and sweet. And Daniel Fredrick is the perfect mix of scared kid and cocksure teen who is more bravado than action. These are impressive performances from talented young actors who bring a much-needed and beautiful naivety to the roles.
The collaboration between cinematographer J. Christopher Campbell and director Michael G. Bartlett make for some stunning visuals, and a film that keeps us captivated without revealing its' hand until late in the movie. And after all of the suspense, the writers throw us a curve ball that might divide some viewers, but for me was quite the nice turn. So with such an amazing blend of almost all of the necessary elements to make a film successful, we are left with a pretty solid film that ends up losing its' footing in the final few minutes. It just didn't match the tone of the rest of the film, and left the film feeling a little bit silly. But all the same, I feel like Treehouse is worth a watch. Available on iTunes on DVD.
- Leo Francis