Movie Review: Between the Trees (2018)

January 30, 2019

Written by DanXIII

Daniel XIII; the result of an arcane ritual involving a King Diamond album, a box of Count Chocula, and a copy of Swank magazine, is a screenwriter, director, producer, actor, artist, and reviewer of fright flicks…Who hates ya baby?

Steve’s (Greg James) got it made; nice-ass crib in the suburbs, a machismo vehicle in the ol’ drive, and a cute A.F. wife named Maggie (Hannah Barefoot) who digs on wearing generic t-shirts…yeah baby! Problem is, Steve and that wife of his get along like some shit that don’t get along, so he decides to beat feet to the woods with some chums and hang out in one of those secluded cabins that everyone with a P.H. of knowledge of the horror biz knows will be the last place some of these gents will ever see.
To that end, they soon find their SUV vandalized and strange footprints all round the land surrounding their cabin…oh, and there’s also those pesky inhuman screams in the night air. Naturally our heroes exit stage left immediately and head down the trail back to the road and civilization like sane, rational folks would do, right? nope, they decide to hunt down whatever it is that’s fucking with them. Smooth move; terror ensues. Also there may be more than one evil in them ‘thar woods…
Director Brad Douglas and Writer Sam Klarreich have done the impossible with Between the Trees; they have taken a gaggle of (intentionally) pretty unlikable characters and made us care about their exploits and mortality…hell you may even find yourself rooting for some of them before this fright flick ends! Of course a big part of that falls on the very capable shoulders of James as our lead, Steve…a man both sympathetic, down to Earth, and immensely troubled. To be sure Michael Draper, Jonny Lee, and Dan Kyle make for an interesting bunch of fellows that run the spectrum  from alcoholic to ludicrous pussy whipped moron…that would be the aforementioned Draper’s role as Josh; he of the outrageous mustache and sweater, who has a penchant for vomiting every time he’s under stress…which is quite often…honestly Draper steals the picture in my not so humble opinion. But I would be remiss to not mention a cameo from Marlyn Mason as a local barkeep that loves to say “fuck” almost as much as your’s cruelly.
Another big plus for this film is it’s overall sense of unease. Through odd editing, dialog, performances, etc. things come off as slightly off-putting…though in a way that actual serves the story incredibly well and accentuates the outre elements at hand (and for those curious, yes there are creatures, and no, it’s not what you are guessing…and if you want to maintain that aura of mystery do NOT click on that trailer below). There’s also some excellent mounting tension, genuinely comedic bits (also intentional), and some decent gore and make-up effects.
Bottom line, if you are looking for a “cabin in the woods” yarn with plenty of twists and turns, excellent acting, and an engaging story that grabs ya by the short n’ curlies from beginning to end; then look no further than Between the Trees. This is one hell of a fine fright flick that’ll make you want to stay far away from the wicked woods for years to come!



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