For a film about a demonic tree, Devil’s Tree: Rooted Evil (2018) offers a bit more than branches and the litter system.
What is Devil’s Tree: Rooted Evil (2018) about?
Samantha (Maddy Curley) is a young student of journalism. One day, she decides to write a story about a mysterious tree in St. Lucie for her academic assignment. It’s no regular tree though – it is a topic of many urban legends, and people say that the natural monument’s cursed.
Whenever a horror film begins with “based on a true story“, it immediately sets the bar high for itself, doesn’t it?
This is exactly how Devil’s Tree: Rooted Evil (2018) begins and it quickly becomes the knife to the throat for its creators. What should have given the film credibility, instead piles up the limitations. The directing duo – Joshua Louis and Chris Alonso – struggle with establishing a consistent vision for the entire film. Even though it is barely 80 minutes of screen time, “Devil’s Tree: Rooted Evil” jumps from a solid-but-cheap gorefest to pieces of rubbish mumblecore. As a consequence, there are moments, when the viewer feels genuinely frightened, but they are quickly followed by cheesy acting bits and pretentious dialogues.
At times, Devil’s Tree: Rooted Evil (2018) delineates easily what it wishes to show, but the film’s execution is off. And here’s an example. In one of the scenes, Samantha’s friend discovers a satanic symbol burnt on his arm. The creepiness of this fact swiftly dissolves when she asks whether it happened when he’s fallen in the woods. Sure, we can – as viewers – forgive a lot. But not a single person on this Earth could have possibly carved a satanic symbol on an arm by falling down.
Devil’s Tree: Rooted Evil (2018) – Creepiness is there, despite holes in the logic of the plot
Despite the chaos in the overall form, I liked the way Devil’s Tree: Rooted Evil (2018) revolved around its symbolism. As an example, Samantha’s first encounter with the tree is accompanied by an appearance of a snake, which instantly brings a biblical allegory to mind. Alonso and Louis like to bring in various inspirations to the table. Sometimes it pays off. The occult symbols, satanic rituals and biblical metaphors are not far-fetched, because at its core, Devil’s Tree: Rooted Evil (2018) is a ghost story. And it remains like that till the end.
You want an honest opinion about Devil’s Tree: Rooted Evil (2018)? Grab a beer, a bag of nachos and you’ll sit through it.
Devil’s Tree: Rooted Evil (2018) – Culturally Loved or Hated?
While some of its moments can evoke genuine fright, it’s the exact kind of low-budget, popcorn entertainment that can be enjoyed while waiting for more ambitious and memorable horror movies currently in production.
Director: Chris Alonso & Joshua Louis
Writer: Chris Alonso & Joshua Louis
Cast: Maddy Curley, Dan Crisafulli
Music: Chad Cannon
Cinematography: Anthony Dones
Looking for more modern horrors about satanism and occultism? Click here to read a list of top occult-themed horror movies of all time.