Paul Andrew Williams may not be the most recognizable name to Americans, but the British director has been carving a path through his homeland over the last few years. In 2006 Andrews helped form Steel Mill Pictures, starting off in crime drama territory before plotting a trajectory for our genre's redder pastures. The first directorial foray Williams made was the horror comedy hybrid The Cottage, which Sony Pictures Home saw fit to bring to US DVD shores/shelves.

As fun as it was to see Andy Serkis do diabolical, for my money Williams really drew a line in the sand with his contribution to arguably the strongest horror film to come out of England in 2008. Fellow Brit Tom Shankland directed The Children, but it was Williams who supplied the brilliant-in-its-simplicity storyline of a family whose ankle bitters start, well, biting ankles before escalating to playing with sharp lawn tools.

Which brings us up to speed in 2009 with the announcement of a new production from Steel Mill Pictures. Titled Cherry Tree Lane and to be both written and directed by Paul Andrew Williams, the "urban thriller" at first sounds like any number of entries in the recent resurgence of home invasion films. Factor in that the horrific events in question will unfold in real time, however, and one can appreciate the potential for something special here.

Despite often embracing cliche (here's looking at you, man standing outside the window), I can't help but feel an attraction to home invasion films. There's a primal fear that comes out when dealing with protecting loved ones on ones own homestead and, if The Strangers is any example, it doesn't take much depth to invoke said fear. Letting the invasion play out in real time, though, that's a new one.

The horrific events in question concern a family forced to fend of a gang off youths hellbent on snatching their son. Yes, it's a little light on the details at this point, but then again most home invasion films are. The hook isn't in the complex plot, it's in the bloody life-or-death scenario that sits in the back of any home owner's mind. Or as Samantha Horley, one of the film's international handlers puts it, "This could happen to any of us, it is our worst nightmare. It's a cautionary tale as well as being a blood-curdling horror story for grown-ups."

Ah, "blood-curdling horror", a lovely lullaby for fans of the fright. Keep in mind the real time style twist and I'm already sold on Cherry Tree Lane.
CATEGORIES Movies, Horror