Cherry Tree (NR)

Horror 85
By Nick Schager
England's pressing problem with tree-worshipping Satanic witches is dramatized with suitable absurdity by Cherry Tree, in which a coven beholden to Beelzebub convinces a young girl to join its clan. In exchange for a cure for her Leukemia-stricken father (Sam Hazeldine), teenage virgin Faith (Naomi Battrick) agrees to birth a baby for Sissy (Anna Walton) and her underworld friends. These villains run around London with scarecrow-ish burlap bags over their head and practice their ceremonies amidst the subterranean roots of Satan's cherry tree, which rewards them with power in the form of magic fruit that they smear over their lips and centipedes that have the power to resurrect the dead.

From Faith not realizing that Faustian bargains always go to hell, to a gory finale involving ritualistic infanticide and copious exposition, this ungainly B-movie makes virtually no sense in terms of either mythology or basic plotting. Characters stand around when they should be taking action, or run around when they should be hiding, just as director David Keating employs innumerable cockeyed angles when some straightforward medium shots would suffice. The result is a clumsy, tossed-off UK variation of the 1988 Demi Moore vehicle The Seventh Sign, complete with a spooky last shot whose lameness is nothing short of unholy.
David Keating Naomi Battrick, Patrick Gibson, Sam Hazeldine, Leah McNamara, Caroline Murphy, Valerie O'Connor, Minnie Phipps Brendan McCarthy


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