Before we are treated to the long-awaited Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey, director Rhys Frake-Waterfield spreads some holiday “fear” with this insane horror film.
Last Christmas, serial killer Clayton was apprehended for the deaths of Faith’s parents. Killed in prison, Clayton’s wife Morrigan has decided it was time to seek revenge this Christmas. In hopes to bring him back to life, Morrigan practices witchcraft and successfully resurrects her beloved. However, there poses one little thing. Clayton has been reborn as a Christmas tree, and he is not too happy. Accidentally killing Morrigan, he is now ready for revenge.
Meanwhile, Faith is still reeling a bit from the death of her parents and along with dealing with her friends, tries to get into the holiday spirit. However, Clayton, in his new killer tree form, not only looks for revenge against Faith, but goes after anyone in his way. When Faith soon discovers the “killer tree” and recognizes the voice, she is in for a shock. Will she be able to protect her friends and confront the same monster she stopped a year ago?
British director Rhys Frake-Waterfield got some notoriety this year when it was announced he would be making a horror film based on A.A. Milne’s classic character Winnie the Pooh (which in one form went to public domain). While that film, Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey, will be released in February of 2023, Waterfield had made this film to give fans a taste of his style of horror. And what better way to spread some holiday “fear” than to bring us a killer Christmas tree?
What Waterfield and screenwriter Craig McLearie come up with is to juxtapose the present day with small flashbacks to get an understanding of the full story as to why in the opening scene, Morrigan decides to resurrect her dead serial killer hubby for revenge. Marcus Massey is excellent as both the human Clayton and voicing his newfound form of the tree. Clayton has a grudge against families celebrating the holidays and therefore targets 12 families (get it?) in which he will kill on Christmas Eve. That is, until he is caught by our protagonist Faith, well played by Sarah Alexandra Marks.
With the exception of Sarah T. Cohen’s Louisa and a female LGBT+ couple, most of the supporting characters seem to be throwaway characters who destined to fall under the threat of the killer tree. In one scene, we see the tree unleash its fury on a group of bystanders en route to confronting Faith. We see Faith still suffering from a bit of PTSD when she is forced to face the past. As if that’s not crazy enough, we get a literal tree fight as well…just see it to believe it.
The Killing Tree is quite fun while it has its intentions of becoming a serious horror film. Think Child’s Play but replace a Christmas tree for a doll. Some pretty fun death scenes and the tree fight at the end. This is just a taste of what we can expect from director Rhys Frake-Waterfield before he unleashes Pooh on us!
WFG RATING: B+
Uncork’d Entertainment presents a Dark Abyss production. Director: Rhys Frake-Waterfield. Producers: Rhys Frake-Waterfield and Scott Jeffrey. Writer: Craig McLearie. Cinematography: Vince Knight. Editing: Rhys Frake-Waterfield and Scott Jeffrey.
Cast: Sarah Alexandra Marks, Marcus Massey, Judy Tcherniak, Kelly Rian Sanson, Sarah T. Cohen, Ella Starbuck, Lauren Staerck, May Kelly, Nikolai Leon, Richard Harfst.