Review: BETWEEN THE TREES (2018)

Between The Trees Key Art

Back in 2017 Brad Douglas made his feature debut with Besetment, an effective if unspectacular piece of small town horror. Now he’s back and going beyond the small town and out into the woods with Between The Trees, a tale of four city guys on a weekend outing being menaced by something in the forest. Unfortunately it’s a big step backwards.

Steve (Greg James) is having marriage issues. It’s hard to tell just what they are, because three minutes into the film he’s left home and is with his buddies. By five minutes in Mack (Jonny Lee) has nearly got them into a brawl in some redneck dive bar by dancing with some jacked up goon’s woman, (I could mentally hear Skynyrd’s Gimmee Three Steps playing in the background). And as soon as they get to the cabin it’s booze, cigars and poker time. So far so cliched.

The next day, of course, they go hunting. Of course somebody thinks they see something odd. And the next morning something has disabled their Jeep. Their sensible plan to hike to the highway and call for help gets sidetracked when they find a trail of footprints, BIG footprints, and decide to follow them instead. I mean they just have to belong to whoever destroyed the Jeep, right? What they find is a cut rate copy of the mutants from The Hills Have Eyes.

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And there we have Between The Trees biggest problem. It’s an uninspired, by the numbers and at times utterly ridiculous copy of many other, much better films. After they have their first run in with the hillbillies they decide to just have a few drinks, play cards and deal with it in the morning. Like the rest of the clan aren’t going to come back looking for revenge for the one they killed.

Dougalas’ script for Besetment took a well used idea and made just enough changes to keep it interesting. Here he’s working from a script by Sam Klarreich, a script that’s lacking in all departments. The characters are one dimensional and only Steve and Dave (Dan Kyle) are remotely believable as friends. The dialogue is clunky and forced and we never feel any real suspense.

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Between The Trees does pull out a couple of twists in the last twenty minutes or so, but it’s too little too late. Without a connection to the characters, the twists fall flat. I’m not even going to talk about the ending that feels like it was grafted on to make the film feature length.

A big disappointment coming from Douglas and distributor Uncork’d Entertainment who have released much better films in this sub-genre such as Minutes To Midnight. Between the Trees will be available on Demand and digital HD March 5th and DVD June 11th.

Between the Trees - Trailer
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Jim Morazzini

Movie buff, gym rat and crazy cat guy