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Who doesn’t love a campy holiday horror film to brighten the season? “The Killing Tree” shines brightly amidst other low-budget offerings.

Killing Tree

‘Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house, not a creature was stirring…except for a deceased serial killer, resurrected as a murderous anthropomorphic Christmas tree!

That’s right. It’s that wonderful time of year when we can always expect to see one or two crazy Christmas horror flicks seemingly emerge from nowhere. The Killing Tree is just such a film. Directed by Rhys Frake-Waterfield, and written by Craig McLearie — both well-seasoned in the b-movie market. I’m actually surprised that I wasn’t already familiar with their respective back catalogs, but that will definitely change now.

The Killing Tree takes place on Christmas Eve when the widow of a serial killer performs some dark magic to bring her lost love back to life. Something goes wrong, and he is resurrected, not as his old self, but as a living Christmas tree.

This botched resurrection spell only fuels the killer’s anger, and he continues immediately where he left off, terrorizing the daughter of his final victims.

The daughter in question is played wonderfully by Sarah Alexander Marks, who definitely seems to make the most of being in this wacky, festive massacre.

She is holding a Christmas Eve party in a large Manor house, which of course, means that there is plenty of cannon fodder for the killer tree! The supporting cast does a good job of being mostly quite unlikeable, so you can’t wait to see them get picked off by the psychotic shrubbery.

The kills are spectacular, bloody, and inventive.

The Killing Tree is fun and never tries to take itself too seriously, and it certainly never shies away from its Christmas theme. (A pet peeve of mine is when a film has been advertised as a festive fun time, and we barely even get a sniff of tinsel.)

The film isn’t very long at all, so it doesn’t give chance for the joke to get stale, and it makes for a quick, entertaining watch that you could sandwich in-between Rare Exports and Die Hard on a festive winter film night.

One thing that really did surprise me about The Killing Tree was the score.

Composer James Cox created a magnificent, atmospheric piece of music that reminded me of the work of Christopher Young. This larger-than-life musical accompaniment really elevated the film from a low-budget schlock-horror to a memorable cult hit!

Although The Killing Tree doesn’t break the mold as far as these tongue-in-cheek Christmas films go, it successfully cements its place amongst low-budget holiday favorites. And as a killer Christmas tree film, it finds itself in esteemed company alongside classics like Treevenge and The Root of All Evil.

So, if you’re looking for something a little different this year besides all the White Christmas and Love Actually staples, why not snuggle down with a hot mulled wine and check out The Killing Tree?

But keep an eye on your own tree this year because you never know what evil lurks beneath those evergreen branches and pine cones.

Overall Rating (Out of 5 Butterflies): 5

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