Hulu’s Into The Dark series has a unique format: each episode is inspired by one American holiday. Treehouse, which premiered in the first week of March, is related to International Women’s Day and is heavily influenced by the #MeToo movement. Does Treehouse make a mark in the horror movie genre?
1. Quick Review
Treehouse has a meaty and relevant premise but it fails to put it to good use. As a result, a promising movie becomes a confusing mess.
2. Series And Info Links
TreehouseAir Date: March 1, 2019 Status: Finished Studio: Blumhouse Television
3. Is It Worth Watching?
Treehouse is neither scary, nor does it give a particularly good message.
Peter Rake is a chef on tv. As his name subtly suggests, he is a lustful person and his debauchery is pretty well-known. After a similar incident, Peter travels to their family home near the countryside to get away from the press and tabloids.
On his way, he meets an old friend, a classmate from high school, Lonnie. He also meets his estranged sister Gwen, who is a District Attorney.
During his getaway, one evening, a woman named Kara comes to Peter’s house to ask for some candles. She was hosting a bachelorette party for her friend when their power went out. Peter helps her.
The next morning, while Peter is jogging near his treehouse, he comes across Kara and her friends. He invites them home and offers to cook dinner for them.
Kara and her friends Marie, Elena, Morgan and Lilith arrive at Peter’s house for dinner. After getting progressively drunk during the evening, Peter starts cracking uncomfortable jokes at the expense of the women’s dignity, ethnicity and ancestry.
That night, Peter wakes up in his bed because of some strange happenings. He finds Morgan in his bed. Hearing unusual music from downstairs, he goes to investigate, only to be intercepted by some oddly dressed figures.
Peter tries to run away from them and arrives at his treehouse. Inside, the walls are covered with pictures and cuttings of his past crimes. He realizes that the figures, who call themselves witches, are Kara and her friends and his lecherous behavior has finally caught up to him.
II. Detailed Analysis
In recent years, Hollywood’s horror genre has been revitalized with movies that artfully combine social issues and generic horror tropes. Treehouse tries to do something like that but does not have much success. There are several reasons behind its failure.
The story of the film is pretty plain. There are no twists or shocking reveals involved. The film mostly relies on classic horror symbols. But even there, it falls short.
The women who come to take revenge against Peter for his crimes against women are labeled ‘witches.’ The movie indirectly uses and advocates the age-old prejudice of calling ‘vengeful’ women witches.
In most cultures, witches do more harm than good. In a subversion of this rule, the actions of the women (witches) are entirely justified and supported.
However, just as the audience comes to terms with this, the movie takes away its most novel aspect and all supernatural touches along with it. In the last shot of the film, it is revealed that the women are not actually witches and everything that transpired the previous night was a side effect of them drugging Peter’s food.
The backtracking in the story and some half-baked characters hinder the film from becoming a good horror film.
There are not any character that stands out in the film. Jimmi Simpson as the rakish chef is good but not exceptional.
The characters of the women in the film are not fleshed out. This is especially true for Peter’s sister Gwen. She comes to Peter’s help when he was being terrorized by the witches and tells him that she knew of their plan all along. However, she did not believe that it would escalate so much.
Again, in the last shot, Gwen is seen having a drink with Kara and all the other women. The audience gets to know that she was actually in the plan because she wanted to teach her brother a lesson for raping one of her childhood friends.
The women in the film are also, somehow, connected to all those people that Peter had wronged. But those connections are not explored much either.
5. Final Thoughts
Treehouse is a true disappointment. In fact, it is the most disappointing part of Into The Dark. The other episodes are much better and some of them are genuinely scary. If you are thinking of watching Into The Dark, you can very well consider skipping Treehouse. Since the episodes are not linked to one another, you won’t miss much.