Cherry Tree Lane 2010 REVIEW

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Cherry Tree Lane 2010 is a test of endurance, not only for the characters but those watching it, writes KATE INGLEBY-PARYLO

Cherry Tree Lane 2010

TITLE: Cherry Tree Lane
DIRECTOR: Paul Andrew Williams
CAST: Rachael Blake, Tom Butcher, Jumayn Hunter

Review of Cherry Tree Lane 2010

Trying to unwind, Christine and Mike are enjoying an evening full of alcohol, tasty food, and a healthy dose of marital disputes. Only a few arguments in, the couple’s home is invaded by local gang members, searching for their son Sebastian. The couple must fight to survive the night of hell and save their son. Cherry Tree Lane quickly descends into one of the more gripping home invasion nightmares, whilst keeping its explicit scenes to a minimum.  

When referring to hoodie horror, Cherry Tree Lane should be one of the first to come to mind. Released in 2010, the film encapsulates the many social and societal fears of Broken Britain. Capitalising on the fear of chavs and youths, Cherry Tree Lane sticks closely to the hoodie horror genre. The victims are an unlikeable middle-class couple; the villains are a gang of uneducated, violent thugs out to kill. 

The contrast between the two groups is amplified the moment the gang members enter the house. The youths immediately begin examining the couple’s belongings, after tying them up. The couple is understandably terrified, but the youths are uncomfortably calm. At ease. Casual. After having a quick look around, the youths immediately grab some biscuits from the kitchen, kicking back as they nibble.

Most of the tension in the film isn’t created by explicit violence or excessive gore, instead it’s in the sound design and the casual behaviour of the gang. When Christine is forced to sit next to gang leader Rian, a feeling of dread is built as he casually comments on her looks and appearance. This soon intensifies as he makes her stand up and turn around for him. We know what he’s thinking and we know where the films going. It doesn’t have to show us. We’ve already felt it.

This is the major strength of the film. The feeling of dread it creates and sustains without showing us anything overly explicit. Whilst the characters are having to endure the night, we are having the endure the film. 

As the film continues, some insight is given into the personalities and lives of the gang members. We learn about Asad’s mum and his difficulties with reading, however, it doesn’t really lead to anything and raises more questions than it answers. This insight only seems to affect what each gang member says to the couple and whether they feel guilty about their actions. It doesn’t affect the outcome or build to anything substantial. 

It doesn’t seem these insights are designed to justify the gang’s actions but to distinguish them from each other. Rian (the psychopathic one), Asad (the soft one), and Teddy (the dim one). Whilst they are all taking part in the home invasion, there is a diversity shown within the group. They aren’t all heartless and certainly not all completely animalistic. This is more than can be said for some hoodie horror films that like to paint all chavs as the same, rinse-and-repeat, savage delinquents. 

Unfortunately, like with many endurance horror films, the continuous dread in Cherry Tree Lane 2010 becomes tiresome nearly halfway in as the story begins to judder. This is because the gang are waiting for Sebastian to come home so they can attack him for snitching. The arrival takes so long that you begin to wonder why the gang are even at the house.

If it’s Sebastian they want, and they are keen not to get caught, why bother with a home invasion? Due to the casual behaviour of the youths, and some of the responses they give to the couple, it’s implied this isn’t their first assault. This leads to wondering how they haven’t been caught yet, as their actions are so sloppy.

Whilst some of the character motivations are murky, the film is saved by the stellar performances of the actors. With most of its explicit scenes occurring off-camera, unlike some of its predecessors, Cherry Tree Lane 2010 manages to grasp and captivate for the majority of its runtime. Despite this, however, some audiences might be unsatisfied with the ending due to the lack of substance and closure. 

KATE INGLEBY-PARYLO is an avid fanatic of cinema and TV. She has an unhealthy obsession with horror and is located in West Yorkshire. Graduating from Westminster University in 2021, with a BA in film, she aspires to work in story development.

Watch Cherry Tree Lane 2010 trailer

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