Directed by Paul Andrew Williams
Starring Rachel Blake, Tom Butcher, Jumayn Hunter
I was not expecting much when I decided to watch 'Cherry Tree Lane' on Sky TV. Two words from Sky TV's description of the movie piqued my interest: 'thriller,' 'real-time'. I was half-expecting Jack Bauer to appear somewhere in the film when I started watching. But I was not disappointed that he did not.
'Cherry Tree Lane' tells the story of a couple who endured an invasion by a gang of teens at their suburban home in London, seeking to exact revenge on their son for reporting one of their friends to the police. The film started out simply, showing the couple having dinner, having a chat and some minor quarrel. A few minutes later came the invaders. And from that moment on, tension just continued to build up throughout the film, and I don't think it ever went down even at the very end.
I'd like to praise a number of contributing elements that I think helped sustain suspense in the film. One, the director's use of a real-time point of view. The way the director did it was very effective, showing a smooth flow of events from one scene to another, and without even using the number countdown sequence used by the television series '24'. Two, the director chose to use other methods to suggest violence in some scenes, instead of showing it directly, thereby making a stronger impact on the viewers' minds than if they saw it happening. In these scenes, violence was implied through the use of sounds like screams and other noises, letting the audience's imagination come into play. Three, the actors' good performance. Their character portrayals, facial expressions, and even silence, helped make this film look more real than other home invasion films I've watched so far. I think I've only seen three in all, including 'Home Alone' and Nicolas Cage and Nicole Kidman's 'Trespass'. Four, the use of other sub-themes besides the main theme, like the sub-theme of culture clash, family loyalty, and others, provides some kind of depth to the characters, thus making the film more realistic. Five, the absence of a soundtrack contributed to the film's realism. It's like watching a documentary, or even watching a tragic event unfold live, right before your eyes.
I would definitely recommend fans of 'chiller' films to watch this movie, as well as the director's 'London to Brighton'. Some say it's even better.