THE DEVILS SORCERESS
Cherry Tree is an example of what is called Folk Horror. This was a term popularised in the documentary A Heritage of Horror (2010) where it was used to refer to Matthew Hopkins Witchfinder General (1968), Blood on Satans Claw (1970) and The Wicker Man (1973). The definition seems loosely applied, largely being seen as referring to films that draw upon the pagan/folk beliefs of England. It has since been expanded to refer to works like The Virgin Spring (1959), Wake Wood and the films of Ben Wheatley, even adopted as a musical genre.
Cherry Tree has a number of similarities to Wake Wood they both feature people accepting a terrible devils deal in order to bring their loved ones back from the dead. The bulk of the plot here follows a standard diabolical pregnancy theme that was laid down by Rosemarys Baby (1968) the pregnant woman finding the people surrounding her to be a cabal of occultists, she becoming ill during the course of the pregnancy, their refusal to allow her to escape that come with some nasty twists Anna Waltons casual willingness of dispose of Naomi Battrick and her father once the baby is born.
David Keating makes a rather effective film. He has a photographers eye and is attuned to the prettiness of the town (Cork, Ireland) and ordinary life. (Oddly, though the film is produced and shot in Ireland, everybody maintains standard British accents throughout). It is filled with sinister effect, particularly good being the scene where Anna Walton takes Naomi Battrick down into the cellar of her home where the cherry tree exists lit up in lights and shows her the resurrection ritual using a hen. Keating borrows a few tricks from Clive Barker during Anna Waltons climactic transformation, while the film reaches a nicely dark ending.
Keating works with a cast of unknowns. The only actor I was familiar with before was Anna Walton who played the vampire in the lesbian vampire film Vampire Diary (2006). Here she gives a performance that almost entirely exists in terms of seductive/ambiguous stares. I was very impressed with Naomi Battrick who has a great classical beauty such that she leaves me intrigued to see what else it is that she appears in in the future.