The best thing you’ll see all week: Cherry Tree Lane

, | Movie reviews


For a guy with three boring names, each more boring than the last, writer/director Paul Andrew Williams is utterly fascinating. If you’ve seen London to Brighton and The Cottage, you know what I mean. If you haven’t seen them, you should. Both of them. In any order. You pick. But see both of them. Because you can’t really get a sense for this British director’s talent without seeing both movies. And then, for good measure, see a weird arthouse horror movie he co-wrote called The Children.

All caught up? Good. Because now it’s time to see Cherry Tree Lane, Paul Andrew Williams’ grim horror thriller that you previously had to import from the UK to watch on a region-free DVD player. It was worth it. But lucky for you, it’s available today in the US where fine DVDs are sold and rented.

As you’re watching Cherry Tree Lane, you might think it’s a mean-spirited thriller preying uncomfortably on issues of race and class and how small the houses are in modern day London. You’d be partly right. But the point of Cherry Tree Lane — and I’m going to take pains not to spoil it beyond acknowledging it — is the last scene. Or, rather, the moment the last scene ends. The way the last scene ends. The musical cue on which the last scene ends, wanting only a thick red curtain dropped by a stagehand in the wings. All the building tension and pressure, from the very opening scene of water boiling on a stove to that last moment in the same kitchen, is entirely about how you as a viewer feel at that instant. I bet you didn’t know you had it in you? But Paul Andrew Williams did.