Crimson Quill’s Appraisal #16
Number of Views: Multiple
Release Date: July 7, 2008
Sub-Genre: Short Film/Splatter
Country of Origin: Canada
Running Time: 16 minutes
Director: Jason Eisener
Producer: Rob Cotterill
Screenplay: Rob Cotterill & Jason Eisener
Special Effects: Lindsay Thorne, Henry Townsend
Cinematography: Jeffrey Wheaton
Score: Adam Burke, Slasher Dave, Darius Holbert, Austin Ince, Fredrik Klingwald
Editing: Jason Eisener
Stars: Jonathan Torrens, Sarah Dunsworth, Maris Morgan, Jayden Taylor, Lex Gigeroff, Mike Cleven, Jason Collins, Timothy Dunn, Shaun Clark, Aria Publicover, Molly Dunsworth and Rob Cotterill as Jon Carpenter
Suggested Audio Candy
Power Glove “Vengeance”
Trees get no respect! Throughout the ages they have been repeatedly manhandled, had limbs callously torn off, been chopped down and hollowed out, then eventually set fire to as one last final insult. Mankind has had its wicked way ever since the two first cohabited the earth and there must come a time where the tree has been persecuted enough, watched too many of its friends savaged around it, and witnessed more of its species come and go than Connor Macleod. Gradually, it is beginning to dawn on us that mother nature is growing tired of such ill-treatment being dished out so mercilessly and may soon take away mankind’s privileges but will it ultimately prove too little, too late? Perhaps it is time for the trees themselves to have their long overdue ‘venge.
Outside of one isolated incident during Sam Raimi’s The Evil Dead, the statistics provide far less than encouraging reading and, historically, mankind comes out top in a melee situation. However, the tree in question here has been subjected to years of watching its nearest and dearest perish at the hands of humanity and has used that time wisely, contemplating its vicious reprisal. It is more than happy to be plucked from its natural surroundings and dressed in cheap tinsel, if that means gaining access behind enemy lines and is biding its time for the correct moment to strike. Of course, nobody suspects foul play from a bunch of twigs and ferns, thus the element of surprise is its most invaluable tool. But this is one tree not to be trifled with.
Treevenge is a decidedly brief affair, clocking in at just shy of eighteen minutes, and is more than worthy of your valuable time. Should your mind start to wander by around the ten minute mark then I implore you to resist any urge to shut it down as you will have robbed yourself of one of the most grue-soaked six minutes of film ever to be committed to celluloid. Trust me, once it bursts to bloody life and widespread slaughter ensues, you’ll never look back. One particularly scandalous scene featuring a young infant may be too much for some more sensitive viewers to stomach but, remember kids, there is a green message tucked away within all this relentless excess. I genuinely wasn’t prepared for just how hard-hitting it is and the point it is looking to make.
The ill-fated family portrayed are caricatures of white picket fence possessing, station wagon driving Republicans with dimples in their cheeks and hand-knitted jumpers on their backs. Watching the entire family being decimated in a little over a minute is worth its weight in gold and, by the time that murderous pine tree makes it outside and causes absolute bedlam, Treevenge has you hook, line and sinker. The immense bolt from the blue here though is that, once it is over you, are left with an all too rare sensation and for any director to achieve this in little more than fifteen minutes is a pretty remarkable achievement.
Director Jason Eisener will likely be most familiar for his affectionate homage to seventies exploitation, Hobo With a Shotgun, which is his only full-length outing to-date. While also weighing in for V/H/S/2 with his segment Slumber Party Alien Abduction, perhaps his most relevant achievement has been his Y is For Young Buck entry from The ABCs of Death. There, he used horror as a vessel for showcasing his compassion for the plight of nature and the result was easily one of the most memorable of all twenty-six entries submitted. He does the very same thing here and this glorious short offers further proof that he is one to watch avidly in the near future.
The burning question here is to whether or not Treevenge will make mankind more mindful of our crimes against mother nature and, alas, I fear it will take more than a single embittered pine on a murderous rampage for the penny to drop. I’m sure that many thousands of ferns are falling to the wayside as I write this as lumberjacks the world over go about their foul work. Having said that, Christmas will be upon us before we know it and I may well give the customary tree a skip this year after witnessing the bite in their bark first-hand. They may not exactly be brimming with personality and are culpable of being a little wooden, but their ‘venge is pretty damn conclusive and Eisener proves here that they really are no saps.
Crimson Quill’s Judgement: 8/10
Grue Factor: 5/5
For the Grue-Guzzlers: It is worth noting that no trees were harmed during filming but the humans don’t fare quite so well. From the moment that first pine cone makes contact this is an all-out splatterfest of the messiest order. Eyes are pierced, children’s heads trampled down into the pavement, and numerous limbs severed during its brief but charitable donation. Its stay may well be short but Eisener’s film has more pound for pound grue than most full length features could ever dream of. Somebody give this man a budget.
Richard Charles Stevens
Keeper of The Crimson Quill
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