Reviewed by: Anton Bitel

"Short, sweet and wonderfully unhinged."

Stripped, axed, sawn and burned without quarter by sneering rednecks as though in a slasher or 'torture porn' flick. Packed en masse into the back of a truck in a clear Holocaust image. Picked out by families like slaves at a market. Fixed in a standing position and forced to hold up electrodes and humiliating adornments like detainees at Abu Ghraib. Yep, pine and fir trees have a hard time of it around Christmas – and so it is the demented genius of Jason Eisener's short film Treevenge, currently earning itself well-deserved acclaim and buzz on the festival circuit, to figure the lot of these trees as a cheesy Eighties horror movie.

"Why is this happening?" "They are killing us all!" "We need to stick together." "Stop yelling, you're disturbing the saplings." In cute squeaky voices, conveniently subtitled for those who do not speak tree, the pines offer an absurdly poignant commentary on their confusion and suffering as they are cut down in their prime. Come Yuletide Morning, though, and these horrifically mistreated victims of Christmas cruelty will branch out into gory acts of vengeance upon their human persecutors, in a hilarious transplanting of the tropes of nature's revenge to the season of goodwill.

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Short, sweet and wonderfully unhinged, Treevenge is a genre-savvy pantomime of arboreal crime and punishment, where the symmetry of the revenge (not to mention its gleefully bloody mean-spiritedness) offers a truly satisfying gift (in environmentally friendly packaging) - even if the acting is a bit wooden...

Reviewed on: 16 Dec 2008
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Treevenge packshot
Sometimes Christmas is worth crying over.

Director: Jason Eisener

Writer: Jason Eisener, Rob Cotterill

Starring: Jonathan Torrens, Sarah Dunsworth, Lex Gigeroff

Year: 2008

Runtime: 15 minutes

Country: Canada


Sundance 2009

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