Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Holiday Horror: Treevenge (2008)

Treevenge (2008)
Director: Jason Eisener
Starring: Jonathan Torrens, Sarah Dunsworth, and Maris Morgan
Running Time: 16 min

  I've been looking forward to seeing this for a couple of reasons.  For one, it's from director Jason Eisener, who brought us the brilliant "Hobo with a Shotgun" and two other fabulous shorts in "ABC's of Death" and "V/H/S 2".  Also, it has Canada's favourite TV guy in it, Jonathan Torrens, who everybody will remember from Street Cents, Jonovision and now the Trailer Park Boys.  This should be a fun ride and it's a short, so I'm pretty jazzed.

   It's a crisp morning and a team of men go into the forest and start ravaging it with their axes and chainsaws.  Cutting down the tree after tree, tearing them from their homes and crushing the young saplings under their heavy boots.  The trees are bunched together and then thrown into trucks to be brought to town and sold as decorations for people's homes, while the weaker ones are further mutilated to become wreaths.
  Unsuspecting families buy their trees on Christmas and have no idea that the trees are planning their revenge on Christmas day.  How will the tree get their revenge and how will they be able to escape the tyranny and slavery of man? 

 This has to be one of the best shorts ever!  Director Jason Eisener using similar "Grindhouse" techniques he used in "Hobo with a Shotgun", like over saturated color, blown out shots and a brilliant 70's issue soundtrack, creates a marvelous Christmas horror classic.
  The way the trees are ripped from their ancestral forest home just gives you the shivers and it reminds me of scenes from, "Roots", "Goodbye Uncle Tom" and probably closer to home with "Where the Spirit Lives".  Watching these displaced trees get stolen from their homes, corralled together and taken to be sold or exploited, just puts a knot in your stomach.  It's incredible how just adding a subtitle track and/or giving the trees a voice allows you to feel more compassion and empathy for these trees. 
  Also the revenge is marvelous.  There is some brutal justice handed out here and Eisener does not let up at all.  Everyone is a target and there is penance for every tree chopped and every sapling crushed.  It's really a great piece of horror film work.
  And it's not as serious as I'm making it.  Although there are some surprisingly complex themes here, either intentional or not, there is a very dark sense of humour surrounding this project.  In the end, they are trees that attack and kill people, it's silly like a killer snowman or being stuck in a bathroom full of zombies.  It's an incredible fun watch.   

  To be honest, this short film hits all the right marks for me and there is nothing that could have been done to really to make it more enjoyable.  Again, considering the look that Eisener was going for and the feel for the film, the blown out camera work and the over acting of the maniacal lumber jacks are just perfect. No complaints here.

  You need to go and watch this now.  It's only 16 minutes but it will make your build up to Christmas so much better.  It has an incredible story, considering it is about trees, tons and tons of gore and it's very funny.  So, this holiday treat yourself to this film but it may cause you may be keeping a closer eye on your Christmas tree.


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