Review by WOD reviewer Joey Horist
An interesting tale of loss and regret, the independent film “The Lost Tree” tells the story of grief stricken Noah (Thomas Ian Nicholas) who retreats to a desolate cabin after the untimely loss of his wife Emma (Clare Kramer) to live out the last vacation that the pair never got to take. Although he is alone, it appears Emma (or something else) is there with him in spirit, quite literally. What was supposed to be a moment’s reprieve quickly descends into chaos of nightmarish proportions. Shadowy spirits begin to spy on Noah at all hours of the night and birds and insects begin to go at him like Sunday brunch. Despite numerous warnings from his assistant Jenna (Lacey Chabert) and his father, John (Michael Madsen) to leave the cabin immediately, Noah is convinced that the spirit of Emma is trying to contact him; and a lone tree growing on a barren patch of sand might hold the answers he is looking for.
The scenes themselves were very well filmed and I commend Brian A. Metcalf for the extra bit of flavor that his directorial style added to the movie. From the claustrophobic confines of the cabin stairway to the wide-open exterior, you don’t just witness what is happening to Noah, you experience it with him. If you’re not having a panic attack while Noah runs for his life in that tiny staircase, you’re experiencing depression as the wide open exterior landscape serves as a reminder to just how lonely the protagonist is. Thomas Ian Nicholas delivers an excellent performance as the leading man and goes out of his way to make sure that each of his stunts were one hundred percent believable. I would have rather seen a lesser known actor portray Noah’s father, as it was hard to imagine the pair as a father son duo. Nonetheless, Michael Madsen made the role his own and delivered a solid performance. Also, Lacey Chabert’s good-natured character is the perfect antithesis to Noah’s repugnant personality. It really goes to show how opposites attract. The story, while simple and straightforward at first, slightly begins to crumble towards the end, but you’ll have no time to worry about one or two minor plot holes once the scares kick in. The shadowy spirit voyeuristically terrorizing Noah is downright disturbing. You just never know when or where it is going to pop up.
All in all, is The Lost Tree perfect? Maybe not, but there is no such thing as a perfect film, or if there is I have yet to see one. Although it had its silly moments and a slightly confusing third act, I am proud to say that I got the chance to see some very talented actors step outside of their perceived comfort zones and really showcase their dynamic ranges in ways probably never seen before in other films. If you’re looking for some good old-fashioned scares for your post Halloween season and just want to kick back and have a good time, The Lost Tree is the movie for you. You’d have to be out of your tree to miss it.