The film opens with idyllic shots of country roads as a rendition of “the First Noel” plays. We’re then introduced to a family looking for their first Christmas tree. The opening wide shots give an impression of majestic anywhere-ness.
Matthew Burd (director, editor, producer) uses clever misdirections in the film. The old man is presented as a brooding figure, but reveals the family’s darker history. Laurie and Paul converse about the family, but Billy barely reacts. Billy turns out to be the most gruesome, chopping up the old man with a chainsaw without reaction. The film seems to end twice, but NOPE! It returns with wilder twists, each layering the plot, culminating in an adult Billy Bloodworth wielding a sickle and chain slaying bored, teenage troublemakers. These twists invert the horror format, ending on an urban legend that develops in the first act.
The characters are all distinct, from the hunky-dory Bloodworth family, to the creepy old man, to the catatonic Billy. The acting borders on tasteful cheese, nodding to classic B-movie camp. Whereas B-movies rely on pure camp, ‘Tree Farm’ sets up scenarios that are genuinely humorous and harrowing with some truly memorable lines (“He’s probably going inside to whack at his own blue spruce”).
‘Tree Farm’ has a very video aesthetic and progresses the no-budget horror format nicely. It toes the boundary on the horror-comedy continuum and should satisfy most audiences. However, we felt the color grading in the credits outclassed the visuals in the film proper. We’d like to see the graded look consistently.
Check out more from Matthew Burd here: https://www.facebook.com/horrorshopfilms