By Dave B.
In Treehouse, Bloomhouse’s newest installment of the Into the Dark series of horror films, celebrity chef Peter Rake (Jimmi Simpson) flakes out on spending the weekend with his daughter to instead go to the house where he grew up and spend time with his sister, who he hasn’t seen in years. After his sister is called away on a work emergency, Peter invites some chance-met and beautiful women over to his house for dinner after their bachelorette party is cut short by a power outage. There’s more to these guests than meets the eye however, and to have any change of surviving the night, Peter must confront a lifetime of his own misdeeds.
Instead of discussing the plot and performances and cinematography, I’ll just say that all of the technical aspects of Treehouse are adequate, at best. What I really want to talk about is the fundamental dichotomy at the heart of the movie, and I’ll try to do so in a way that doesn’t give (m)any spoilers. I have to say that philosophically, this is perhaps the “deepest” episode of the Into the Dark franchise. At its core, Treehouse deals with the tension that can be inherent in the quest for justice versus the desire to make the world a better place through redemption. And this tension is well-executed, feeding into the horror elements of the story in a way that could be gratuitous and overly sensational, but isn’t. In some ways, I feel that this is a story that needs to be told.
But in other ways, I’m uncomfortable with how justice is seemingly sidelined. Redemption arcs are fine things, but some people are so abhorrent, some crimes are so heinous, that a character learning his lesson and turning over a new leaf feels inadequate and inappropriate. And that’s my main criticism of Treehouse: I didn’t leave it feeling optimistic. Instead, I felt disappointed and uncomfortable. In other words, the ending bothered me, despite that not being the film’s intention.
I’m recommending Into the Dark: Treehouse, but primarily for selfish reasons. I want to know what other people think and feel about it. On it’s own merits, I’d probably still (barely) recommend it, but there’s no aspect of the film that stands out for me outside of its philosophical implications. In theory, I don’t see anything wrong with a film that’s middle-of-the-road as far as quality is concerned, but is interesting to think about. But Treehouse walks a very fine line between being mildly interesting and copping out in way that will leave viewers wanting to cleanse their bodies, minds, and souls when it ends.
I have no clue what I'm doing, but I'll keep doing whatever it is to the best of my ability.