Behind the Trees (2019) Review

Spread the love

The Wicker Lady

In Vikram Jayakumar’s “Behind the Trees” (2019): 5 out of 10:, Amy (Vanessa Curry) and her Indian boyfriend Jay (Sahil Shroff) embark on a romantic getaway to the serene Indian wilderness, seeking respite from the bustle of Los Angeles. Their idyllic retreat takes a chilling turn when they stumble upon a disturbing exorcism ritual being performed by the villagers on a young girl named Asha (Tvisha Seema).

Appalled by the villagers’ actions and fearing for Asha’s safety, Amy and Jay intervene, rescuing her from the makeshift chamber in the sugarcane field where she was confined. Back at their resort suite, Asha slowly begins to open up to Amy, revealing her harrowing ordeal and expressing her desire to reunite with her parents.

However, as Jay ventures back to the village in search of answers, unsettling occurrences begin to unfold. Asha confides in Amy about a mysterious woman who haunts her, appearing unexpectedly and filling her with dread. Amy’s skepticism gives way to concern as Asha becomes weirder and her boyfriend seems to have disappeared.

The Good

The Good: Behind the Trees is a beautifully shot film. You get the crisp nature drone shots, sure.. But you also get a magnificent setting in Northern India in a near abandoned resort. We also get a great sugar cane field that has a prominent place in the film and gives some nice “Children of the Corn” vibes. Only real negative in the scenery department is that for all the talk of tigers there were no tigers.

While model Vanessa Curry may not scream pediatrician (which is her character’s profession), she certainly is easy on the eyes and fine in her role. This is no Kathy Ireland “Alien from LA” issue or Denise Richards as Bond girl Christmas Jones situation.

There are some really pleasant touches. The characters wearing masks on the back of thier heads to confuse the tigers. (Which clearly works as I mentioned above. The tigers are awol). There are no cheap jump scares and “Behind the Trees” sells the isolation and carelessness of the main characters.

The Bad

The Bad: The end of the movie is inexplicably after the initial closing credits. Guys that is not a stinger that is the conclusion of your film. For that matter, the prologue is also completely unnecessary and adds nothing to the story.

None of the acting is bad in isolation. The thirsty, desperate, out of his league boyfriend is suitably desperate, the possibly possessed girl who inexplicably speaks English at random times is suitably creepy, and the local hotel servant is just off enough to make you look at him twice.

I am not sure the limited cast works well together. “Behind the Trees” basically only has four people throughout most of the film. Our main couple (Vanessa Curry, Sahil Shroff) lack serious chemistry. I don’t make it a habit to criticize either real life or fictional couples for being unrealistic because one member of the couple seems on the surface completely out of the league of the other. Love or lust is a funny thing and sometimes one member of the couple has hidden assets, like having a large endowment or being well endowed.

But from the get go there is a nagging question of what in God’s name is she doing with this guy? He is not funny; he is sort of handsome in that soft I’ve hit my thirties kind of way. But they live in LA. Everyone is handsome; She is a doctor who looks like she moonlights as a Laker Girl, for god’s sake. They just don’t seem to click on any level. Since Behind the Trees is more of a thriller than a horror movie and the linchpin of the thriller is thier relationship, this is a problem.

The Ugly

The Ugly: This is one of those movies whose tension is ninety percent soundtrack. If the disturbing scary music by writer, director, editor and I suppose dishwasher Vikram Jayakumar was not playing over almost every single scene, we would not know to be scared or even concerned. The activities in the movie itself are very lightweight.

There are two exorcisms in the film. The first one is tepid and hard to see and if I didn’t know better, I would have thought the second one was played for laughs. The monster is a stick monster woman who just stands there like the floor model from an overpriced wicker monster sale at Pier One Imports.

The scary actions of the possessed girl include piling kindling on a bed and using a rocking chair in an aggressive manner. It is like she was possessed by a haunted Cracker Barrel restaurant.

In Conclusion

In Conclusion: Despite some very nice scenery (both Northern India and Vanessa Curry) “Behind the Trees” cannot escape its fatal flaw. It is boring. Nothing much really happens during the film and what happens is so low key it almost does not register. It is a horror movie without scares and a thriller without thrills. Vikram Jayakumar is an excellent craftsman, but he needs a story worth telling.

The confused tigers not shown.
This is our monster. We never really get a good look at it and I cannot recall it attacking anyone. Probably for the best.
No one will be seated during the rocking chair scene.
The Tiger is a Lie
The cake, however, is not a lie. You know, these custom birthday cakes in movies always make me feel inadequate with my store-bought cakes with a name scribbled on them between Minions.
The scenery is very nice in “Behind the Trees”.
This screenshot is from the prologue where there is a missing white purse. You know “Behind the Trees” has a lot of female characters wandering around rural India in the dark. I know plenty of countries have thier problems but India is pretty notorious for theirs. And no, I am not referring to the unseen tigers. (Though that to should also be a concern.)
0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments