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Cherry Tree Lane
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Cherry Tree Lane – Review

WHAT’S IT ABOUT?

Mike (Tom Butcher) and Christine (Rachael Blake) are a typical middle-class couple in their forties, having a typical marital tiff about their typically boring lives.

As they push their dinner around their plates, among their moans are their differing attitudes to their troublesome teenaged son Sebastian (Tom Kane).

There’s a knock on the door. Christine goes to answer it. It’s a group of youngsters, asking for Sebastian. She tells them he’s out.

Suddenly, three teenagers burst into the living room, pushing a screaming, gagged Christine to the sofa and typing up Mike on the floor at her feet.

Sebastian has grassed on one of their friends and they will do whatever it takes to get their revenge.

WHAT’S IT LIKE?

After his powerful debut, London To Brighton, Paul Andrew Williams misfired slightly with his follow up, The Cottage, but here, he makes another impressive effort to make the most of a clearly low budget.

Taking the idea of a small number of characters and locations to similar extremes to the recent Disappearance of Alice Creed (a couple more characters but just the one location – the house) Williams delivers a claustrophobic thriller, ratcheting up the tension effectively throughout.

But unlike the aforementioned kidnap drama, this looks cheap and feels small.

Its biggest failing is that the couple at the heart of the film aren’t particularly sympathetic so we don’t really care about them, despite their ordeal – after listening to them whining in the first couple of scenes, it’s almost a relief to the audience when the gang turns up, gags them and puts a knife to their throats, ordering them not to make a sound. And the gang members themselves don’t have the charisma to make them screen-worthy anti-heroes.

It’s tense, but it’s not really that exciting – and despite unrolling in real time, or perhaps because of it, it feels a little contrived.

Somehow, it’s almost too grounded in reality and down to earth to feel anything like as chilling as Michael Haneke’s similarly-themed Funny Games.

opens nationwide 3rd September 2010

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