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Director: Philip Carrer
Screenplay: Ryan Barrett
Cast: Jennifer De Lucia, Daniel Zuccala, Ryan Barrett, Breanne teBockhorst
Producers: Chad Archibald, Ryan Barrett, Philip Carrer
Print Source: PCARRER
A small group of young people are going on a road trip, planning on some camping into the woods. Once at their destination, the plan is to swim, relax and drink. However, a pack of menacing miscreants, not exactly chatty types, is lurking nearby. These strangers seem to have an unusual definition of the word fun, one that has a lot to do with suffering, and they get a kick out of filming themselves while having their “fun.” It’s pretty clear that IF A TREE FALLS won’t lead to a happy ending.
Right from the start—the R-rating title card, the over-saturated colours of the intro, the “based on true events” announcement—it’s clear we’re in for an homage to exploitation films, grindhouse-style. It’s all there—the scratched film stock, nervous photography, washed-out or sun-dried colours and super-stylized editing (zooms, freeze frames, undercranking…). On the action side, it’s a slow build, from agitated tension through disorienting strangeness to final, flat-out brutality.
Before they dove into feature-length movies, director Philip Carrer and his producer Chad Archibald cut their teeth on music videos by Swollen Members, Hed P.E., Unwritten Law and more, while Ryan Barrett, who co-stars in the film, also wrote the screenplay. Music-wise, Luke Nares offers an engaging soundtrack, starting with vintage folk rock and zooming out into psychedelic territory. It harkens back to works like David Hess’ soundtrack for LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT, the notorious rape-revenge flick of the 1970s. In fact, IF A TREE FALLS with survival classics of that era, films such as DELIVERANCE, THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE and THE HILLS HAVE EYES, despite the absence of inbred mutants and killer hillbillies. IF A TREE FALLS takes its time fleshing in out the personalities of its potential victims (in a WOLF CREEK way), throws in some disorienting conversations (as did DEATH PROOF) and some malefactors reminiscent of THE STRANGERS, and concludes in a fashion recalling the handicam POV of THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT. Wanna see a grindhouse-flavoured survival shocker made right here in Canada?