Trailer Round-Up

This week’s pick of trailers include horror movie Silent House, the George Lucas-produced Red Tails and Seth MacFarlane’s Ted.

Savages

Savages combines a number of enticing elements. Directed by Oliver Stone, the film is based on Don Winslow’s best-selling crime novel. Savages boasts a stellar ensemble cast that includes Salma Hayek, John Travolta, Blake Lively and Taylor Kitsch, who has very much been on the radar in 2012. The action thriller is due for release on 28th September 2012, in the UK.

Red Tails

Red Tails is based on the true story of World War II’s first African American fighter squadron. The first thing that struck me about the publicity for the film was the hot 80s-esque type font. Produced by George Lucas, Red Tails is directed by Anthony Hemingway (who has a solid career in television, including The Wire). Red Tails is released on 6th June 2012.

Ted

Just like the trailer suggests, as a child I always wanted my teddies to come alive. Actually, as an adult, I still wish for this. Ted is a new comedy from Family Guy-creator Seth MacFarlane. Written, directed and voiced by MacFarlane, the film is sure to offer the same brand of close-to-the-bone humour. Ted, which stars Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis, is released on 3rd August 2012.

Silent House

Silent House is a horror film that takes place in real time and in one continuous take. I recently watched Rope again, which truly mastered the long take in the late 1940s. It will be interesting to see how Silent House compares. The film is a remake of Uruguayan film La Casa Muda. Silent House, which stars Elizabeth Olsen, opens on 4th May 2012 in the UK.

Film Review: Cherry Tree Lane

This low-budget thriller from the director of The Cottage and London to Brighton aims for a tense atmosphere throughout, but is only partially successful.

Christine and Mike are having dinner in their London home when the doorbell rings. A gang of youths push through, looking for the couple’s son, who is due home shortly…

The film takes place solely in this one house; therefore you would expect a feeling of claustrophobia. This isn’t really reached as often action takes place off-screen, in other rooms of the house. Cherry Tree Lane is not so much a horror movie; it doesn’t offer the moments of fear you would expect from a film like this. Rather, it contains elements of a thriller and a crime film.

The action takes place in real time, an attempt, it seems, to make the film as realistic as possible. Whilst this works on some levels (such as the limited time before the couple’s son is due home), it also reveals the mundaneness of the situation. The tension of the couple being bound and gagged is off-set by one of the gang grabbing a digestive biscuit when he goes into the kitchen. Whilst this real-time style may add authenticity to the action, unfortunately it is not very interesting to watch.

Paul Andrew Williams, who wrote and directed the film, seems to have developed his villains, but only to a certain extent. Of all the characters, Asad (played by Ashley Chin) is the most believable. It seems he has only gone along with the plan on the say-so of leader Rian, and seems to show some compassion to his captives. It is unclear whether the message advocated here is that evil comes in many forms, or that there is good even in those who have shown wickedness.

It is the sound used in Cherry Tree Lane that does the most to generate tension. The film does contain some violence, but most of the more gory segments take place off-screen. It is the sound of these incidents that is unnerving; nothing too graphic is actually depicted but the sound feeds the imagination sufficiently.

The acting is a bit hit-and-miss in Cherry Tree Lane, but perhaps that is not too surprising considering the low budget and brief nature of the shoot (the whole movie was filmed in fourteen days).  The main problem with the film isn’t the acting or the plot holes; it is that Cherry Tree Lane fails to sustain the apprehension so essential to a film such as this. It may aim for the heights of Hitchcock’s Rope, but does not even get close to The Last House on the Left.

Cherry Tree Lane was screened at the Curzon Soho followed by a Q&A session with director Paul Andrew Williams.