On Halloween night, a young man finds himself on a journey through ghostly tales and haunting memories with the guidance of an old friend. A whimsical coming-of-age tale, mixed with a bit of the macabre, Boys in the Trees is a cautionary tale of adolescence masked by ghost stories.
It’s the last day of high school for Corey (Toby Wallace) and his group of skater friends. It also happens to be Halloween night and his group plans a night filled with pranks and getting drunk in the graveyard. One of their targets is a smaller boy named Jonah (Gulliver McGrath), a former childhood friend of Corey’s. As darkness falls upon their small town, Corey seems disinterested in his gangs foolish behavior and leaves. He runs into Jonah at the skate park, alone as he seemingly always is. After knocking his head, Jonah asks that Corey walk him home to ensure he gets back safely.
What begins as an innocent walk home, turns into something a bit more mystical. As Jonah begins to share tales of ghosts and monsters that are seemingly manifested from their own fears. Tales of bullies that take shape as werewolves, lonely ghosts and what happens when you forget your dreams.
This Australian film, oddly enough, takes place in 1997. Although the influence isn’t apparent at first, you’ll slowly realize it’s importance. The music of that time seems to play an important role in the setting, tone and personalities of the characters. It gave the film a unique throwback feel that will give you a wonderful dose of nostalgia – and instantly remind you of adolescence. With a story all about the wonders of childhood, and the sad reality of growing up, having a setting that encompasses that only aides in the stories ability to effect you.
On the opposite end of that grunge scene, is this very beautiful and haunting whimsy the entire film has. The metaphorical tales told throughout embody your deepest fears but allow you to escape into this supernatural fantasy world. With striking cinematography and beautiful sequences, the visuals are dreamy and reveal more in time than the dialogue. It’s one of those movies where the filmmaker clearly didn’t forget those subtle details that play an important role.
It is best described as a coming-of-age film where the lesson isn’t heavy – but simple. It’s a very mild film that isn’t so much scary, but rather gives you all the classic Halloween feels from childhood. It’s a bit sentimental, slightly tragic, but above all, a great ghost story.
Boys in the Trees is currently available for streaming on Netflix