Terror has trouble making the climb to 'Treehouse'

Backwoods terror sends kids into 'Treehouse' and strands them there with bad action, dialogue. A review

"Treehouse" is a lackluster backwoods thriller that takes far too long to get — well, not very far. There's more tension in a round of Final Jeopardy.

Directed by Michael Bartlett from a script by Alex Child and Miles Harrington, the film finds an Ozark Mountains community on edge when local kids go missing, the possible victims of some unidentified evil.

Enter young brothers Killian (J. Michael Trautmann) and Crawford (Daniel Fredrick), whose party night out in the woods is waylaid by the discovery of a teenage girl, Elizabeth (Dana Melanie), hiding in a remote treehouse. Why?

Lizzie has glimpsed said evil and it — or he or they, not sure yet — has abducted her little brother. And, of course, she's terrified. (She also has hunks of glass stuck in her feet, so walking is dicey.)

The brave Crawford leaves the wimpy Killian to watch Lizzie while going to investigate. When he doesn't return — not a spoiler, a given — Lizzie and Killian exit the treehouse to track down who or what is wreaking havoc out there. It's the inevitable dumb move that flicks like this require.

The rest is a yawn as Killian mans up, feisty Lizzie battles low blood sugar, the odd couple bonds and gruesome discoveries are made. As for the killers, turns out they're nothing special.

Trautmann and Melanie work hard but are undermined by grade-C dialogue and plot illogic. Wedged-in flashbacks attempt to flesh out Killian's thorny childhood but prove too on-the-nose when paid off in the present.


No MPAA rating.

Running time: 1 hour, 36 minutes.

Playing: Arena Cinema, Hollywood.

Also on VOD.

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