Boys in the Trees – Australia, 2016 – reviews

‘Nobody gets us… that’s half the fun’

Boys in the Trees is a 2016 Australian fantasy horror feature film written and directed by Nicholas Verso. It stars Toby Wallace, Gulliver McGrath and Mitzi Ruhlmann.

Plot:

It’s Halloween 1997: the last night of high school for Corey, Jango and their skater gang, The Gromits. Childhood is over and adult life beckons. However, for Corey, his past has some unfinished business. When he encounters Jonah, a former childhood friend but now victimised by Jango’s cruel streak, Corey takes pity on him and agrees to walk him home for old time’s sake.

What begins as a normal walk through empty suburban streets descends into something darker and magical as they tell each other ghost stories, drawing upon their fears of the world around them.

Whilst they walk through their memories and ghosts of the past, Corey is surprised to discover how much he still has in common with his abandoned friend. But on the night of the grave’s delight, even the most buried truths will find a way of coming to life…

Reviews:

“Colorful, bittersweet, and full of wonder, this dark fantasy has a little bit of everything.” Bloody Disgusting

“It’s a stunning piece of cinema that is uplifting while heartbreaking all at once. It’s something that I would highly encourage people to seek out and see. Boys in the Trees isn’t your traditional horror film in that it’s not super scary — though there are some scares — but it is a beautiful story about the trials and tribulations of growing and it all takes place with a Halloween backdrop.” Film School Rejects

“Verso’s direction is delightfully confident, and he’s not afraid to linger, on a song, on a look, on a feeling; you might come back to yourself after a moment realizing you’ve been physically leaning toward the screen. The narrative of the film is incredibly dark, but Verso ultimately insists on a hopeful optimism that teaches us that we can dream, and dream big, no matter how deep the pain that we carry.” Horror Honeys

“Mark my words, Toby will soon enter the international market and Verso will be getting a few film offers himself. Will it make money? I am unsure, I think it will garner quite a few positive reviews and the art-house audiences will enjoy it but sadly it isn’t listed on all the commercial chains’ websites.” Salty Popcorn

“The greatest spell cast by “Boys in the Trees” is in delivering an initial impression of being overly on the nose with melancholic metaphors. Yet by the time the film comes full circle, its quiet malaise morphs into a deeply affecting mood whose visual and emotional imprints cut sharply. There’s much more to this movie that isn’t uncovered until its stylized theatrics are swept aside.” Culture Crypt

“Verso’s aligning of heart-to-heart conversations with oogie-boogie yarns is a hugely ambitious combo. There are times when the film-maker conjures up something memorably surreal, including a Day of the Dead-themed house party and the titular scene involving a chinwag in the trees.” Luke Buckmaster, The Guardian (Australia)

“As Boys in the Trees drones on, becoming an interminable trudge at nearly two hours, viewers can’t help but zone out, disenchanted with accounts of darkness, wolf and lamb metaphors, similes, symbols (the entire stylistic shebang) and more trite life lessons than any fairy tale volume is equipped to handle… Screen Anarchy

“While Verso hand holds his audience a bit too much, bogging down the pacing in places, his message is poignant and authentic. Harsh realities are counterbalanced with an ethereal, Halloween dreamscape that’s breathtaking and devastating. Equal parts nostalgia, wonderment, and grief, Boys in the Trees is worth the annual Halloween watch that’s sure to come.” Modern Horrors

“A walk and a dare become mysteriously spooky, the past, the present and some scary elements weave together in scenes that are part fantasy, part 80s horror, part surrealism, part symbolism. Not as deep as I would have liked, but a somewhat interesting movie for a teenage audience.” The Worldwide Celluloid Massacre

“While Verso is a master when it comes to nailing teen angst through sinister imagery – the horror aspect is fairly underplayed for the most part – and music video style (combined with an evocative late ’90s soundtrack), story-wise this wanders almost as much as its teen protagonists. It’s close to two hours when a run time around 90 minutes would have better suited the thin story.” SBS Movies

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