Boys in the Trees is an Australian fantasy/drama/horror film that was directed by Nicholas Verso, releasing in 2016. It focuses on two boys who reconnect over their memories and fears as they walk through the woods on Halloween night 1997.
It’s the last night of high school for Corey, Jango and their skater gang. Just like for everyone, it’s a difficult period of transition from childhood to adulthood. Corey has aspirations to move away to New York to work on his passion, photography. However, Jango isn’t happy. He would much prefer to have Corey stick around and continue doing what he tells him to.
It’s Halloween and just like every year this means that the boys are out committing juvenile acts. While doing so they encounter Jonah, the former childhood best friend of Corey. They’ve drifted apart and sadly, Jonah now gets constantly harassed by Jango and the group. After having a small argument with Jango about moving away, Corey notices Jonah skating in a park alone. Corey takes pity on him and agrees to walk him home for old time’s sake.
What starts off as a normal walk through empty suburban streets descends into something darker and magical. They tell each other ghost stories, drawing upon their fears of the world around them. As 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.
Boys in the Trees is packed with metaphors and dialogue about growing up or drifting apart from someone you were once close to. It’s most certainly a coming of age film. As well, it focuses heavily on the idea of not following your dreams when you have the chance to do so. Also, it felt clear to me that that it was projecting a message about the dangers of toxic masculinity in our society. Basically, there is more than likely something within it that you will be able to relate to.
For the most part, the acting is pretty good. However, the subject matter becomes very serious at one point. As decent as these actors are, I felt it really pushed their abilities to the limit and probably a little too far. The dialogue is very messy in places with more than a few awkwardly delivered lines.
It must be stated that this really isn’t a horror film. IMDB listed it as such but it should be removed from the listed genres. I suppose you could say that it’s based more on the kind of horror that can happen in reality rather than genuine scares or gore. I found the story to be somewhat predictable but the eventual reveal is impactful. The messaging throughout is done well. Unfortunately, the film sags in the middle with a runtime that could have easily been trimmed down.
Finally, I have to give props to the film for actually feeling like its set in the 90s. The ways the characters talk, dress and the music throughout is well done.
Overall, Boys in the Trees is not really a horror film but worth a watch none the less.
Boys in the Trees
The Final Score - 7/10