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Irish director David Keating (pictured) made his first foray into the
horror genre with his superior rural occult tale WAKE WOOD, which debuted this
week on DVD and Blu-ray from Dark Sky. And he’s planning to stay there; he gave
us some info about his next fright outing, THE CHERRY TREE.
Not to be confused with British director Paul Andrew
Williams’ recent thriller CHERRY TREE LANE, Keating’s movie will continue the
familial themes of WAKE WOOD, in which a couple engage an occult ritual to
bring their dead young daughter back to life, with grisly results. “THE CHERRY
TREE is really about how much a daughter loves her dad,” he tells Fango. “It’s
a contemporary film, set in the U.S., and it’s the story of a single father who
lives with his 16-year-old daughter, and to save his life, she has Satan’s
baby. As anyone would, really. Wouldn’t you?” he laughs.
One of WAKE WOOD’s strengths is its strong sense of place,
community and rural atmosphere in the titular Irish town. Keating says this
will continue into his new States-set project: “I very much hope you’ll get a
strong sense of the northeastern U.S. from it,” he says. “I’ve spent a bit of
time in Massachusetts and Maine, so while I was working on the script, that’s
really where I was thinking of. It’s also very much a suburban story, so it’ll
be interesting to explore that sort of setting—interesting for me, as a
journey. I’ve got family in the U.S., I’ve been coming since I was a little boy
and I’m curious to work here and explore it. Also, there is such a strong
American film tradition that I’m also intrigued to be a part of. I’ll always be
a European, and probably a European filmmaker, but I’m excited to explore a
story set in America.”
THE CHERRY TREE also belongs to the tradition of films about
bearing the devil’s child, going back to ROSEMARY’S BABY, and Keating says
he’ll be taking the same character-based approach as the Roman Polanski
classic. “I like films that have strong performances, where the people hook you
in at the very beginning and you really care about them. For me, films don’t
really work, no matter how good the story is, if I don’t care about the
characters; I just not into it. So that’s always what I’m trying to do. But
just to make sure I’m outside my comfort zone on this, we’ve added a visual
effects component that’s going to be very creepy, visually. That’s quite an
interesting element.” We’ll keep you posted as THE CHERRY TREE bears fruit; see
our feature on WAKE WOOD and Keating in Fango #305, now on sale.
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