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The Killing Tree

Directed by Rhys Frake-Waterfield

After being sentenced to death in prison, serial killer Clayton Slayter is resurrected from the grave by his besotted wife but something goes wrong during the incantation. With his soul now trapped inside a Christmas tree, Clayton decides to exact revenge on the person responsible for his incarceration and death.

With THE KILLING TREE, you know exactly what you’re gonna get – a fun-filled, festive slasher involving a killer Christmas tree that doesn’t take itself too seriously. From the moment Magna’s spell backfires and transports the soul of her beloved Clayton into a decorated fir tree, you know you’re in for a daft time! If you’re a lover of these types of movies, as I am, then you’ll be rubbing your hands with glee at that prospect.

The film centres around Faith, a young woman who’s parents were murdered by Clayton and Magna a year earlier. Upon discovering the killers fresh from their kills, she managed to escape and dob them into the authorities, but after taking responsibility for all the killings himself, it was only Clayton who got banged up in jail and later executed. Now he’s back for revenge and inhabiting a Christmas tree ain’t gonna stop this vengeful psychopath!

Celebrating Christmas in her family home, which is more like a manor house, Faith seeks solace from her closest friends who’ve joined the festivities. Of course, the room is packed with other people at the party, some who either know her in passing or don’t especially care for her, which means there’s plenty of fresh meat for Clayton to take out before getting to his intended victim.

With the idea of selling the home due to all the bad memories of the previous year’s events, Faith’s celebration one last time is like a farewell to the home she grew up in with her parents. What she doesn’t realise is that the night may well be her last if Christmas tree Clayton has his way!

As you can imagine, THE KILLING TREE comes up with some creative ways to kill the supporting cast, using both its branch arms and the fairy light decorations he’s adorned with. The kills in these types of movies are always the bits I look forward to most, wondering how ingenious and imaginative the filmmakers can be.  The film doesn’t disappoint and has a lot of fun with its kills, and isn’t afraid of going totally out there either with other crazy ideas (there’s something special towards the end).

Midway through the movie, it does drag slightly with a hint of monotony as Clayton grumbles and shuffles his way into Faith’s life once more. I was hoping the character would plot and scheme more during the moments between the kills but it seems he’s held back somewhat. However, Marcus Massey’s performance as a homicidal Xmas tree is an absolutely delightful spectacle to behold and you can’t help but laugh as he wobbles up the driveway and preys upon his victims.

Every good horror needs victims, and whilst Faith and her friends make an ideal target for Clayton, the killings sometimes feel rushed. There’s little tension or buildup to their deaths, perhaps due to the film’s short running time, so the cat and mouse chase isn’t as effective as it could be involving Faith and her close pals.

Blending practical and CGI effects, British horror comedy THE KILLING TREE executes its creative killer instincts and leaves you wanting more. Just pray that the Christmas tree you put your presents under this Crimbo isn’t possessed by the soul of a serial killer!

Rating: ★★★☆☆

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About Bat 4417 Articles
I love practical effects, stop-motion animation and gore, but most of all I love a good story! I adore B-movies and exploitation films in many of their guises and also have a soft spot for creature features. I review a wide range of media including movies, TV series, books and videogames. I'm a massive fan of author Hunter S. Thompson and I enjoy various genre of videogames with Kingdom Hearts and Harvest Moon two of my all time favs. Currently playing: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Yakuza Zero and Mafia III.

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