Treevenge (Short, 2008)
Reviewed by Johnny Butane
Starring Mike Cleven, Glen Matthews, Kristin Slaney
Directed by Jason Eisener
“Brilliant” isn’t a word I like to use a lot when it comes to reviewing horror; very few films can boast all the right elements to be granted such a distinction, but Jason Eisener’s follow up to the Grindhouse-award winning film “Hobo With a Shotgun” cannot, with any fairness, be called anything else.
The premise is ridiculous, but the execution is flawless, which is one of the main reasons I can unabashedly say “Treevenge” is brilliant. Every year, hundreds of pine trees are cut down, shoved together onto a truck, and put in various empty lots across the U.S., just so Americans can browse them, pick their favorite, weigh it down with gaudy decorations and lights, and shove it into a corner of their living room to show they, too, have “Christmas spirit”. So what would happen if those trees decided enough was enough?
Wholesale fucking slaughter.
The elements that make “Treevenge” work so well are legion; from the subtitled pleading of the trees to be left alone, begging for their lives, to the chop-happy woodsmen who cut them down in the first place, to the old-school practical effects used from top to bottom, to the classic horror scenarios set up with trees in the place of both victims and maniacal killers; it all works so goddamn well that it makes any other films you may see it up against pale in comparison.
I know that for a fact; I watched it with a slew of other shorts for consideration for this year’s Boston Underground Film Festival and while the rest were all good in their own ways, nothing came anywhere close to “Treevenge”.
I wish there were more to say, but there’s not a lot more plot to this short slice of badassedness (yes, that is a word, so shuttup). Director Eisener showcases his skills on many levels from comedy to horror, has timing and pacing down to an art and isn’t shy to show off some quick editing and interesting angles. I cannot wait to see what this guy can do with a feature.
“Treevenge” is the best 18 minutes I’ve had in a long time. As to how you, too, can experience it, that’s up to where you’re living. It’s playing on Saturday, March 20th as part of the Boston Underground Film Festival’s “J. Cannibal’s Tapas of Terror” shorts program, and you can hit the official “Treevenge” site for dates of other upcoming festival screenings. Hopefully someone out there will get this onto a DVD so everyone can dig on it soon!
5 out of 5
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