TREEVENGE ***** USA 2008 Dir: Jason Eisener. 15 mins
En-route to his feature debut HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN, Jason Eisener displayed more wit, invention and energy with his short masterpiece TREEVENGE than most modern horror movies could only dream of. Opening with an aerial shot set to the tune of Riz Ortolani’s marvelous CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST theme, it apes Joe Dante’s GREMLINS in its enthusiastic demolition of Christmas and briefly alludes to THE EVIL DEAD in a tree-rape skit. Sympathetically taking on the point of view of the trees at Christmas, Eisener employs subtitled dialogue as they ponder aloud their annual fate (“What did we do to THEM?!”) while portraying all the humans as either barbaric or vomit-inducing mongers of insincere festive cheer.
Gruesome Christmas music is everywhere (“What is that horrible noise?”), Christmas TV is righteously shat on and an all-American family is portrayed as utterly nauseating with their garishly over-decorated home. For the first time in movie history, we have a sense of the sheer torture and indignity involved in being a tree at Christmas, wrenched out of your natural environment and (worse) having baubles and tinsel forced upon you. The misanthropic humour is perfectly pitched and it climaxes with a show-stopping tree rampage montage that incorporates a Fulci-inspired dual eyeball-poking, dead cats, crushed babies and murdered children. If anyone tries to tell you this ISN’T the greatest Christmas horror movie of all time, force-feed them their own spleen and defecate on their grandmother.
Review by Steven West