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Trees (2000)
Creative Work
  • Director:
    Michael Pleckaitis
  • Category:
  • Writer:
    Michael Pleckaitis
  • Cast:
    Kevin McCauley,Philip M. Gardiner,Peter Randazzo
  • Time:
    2h 27min
  • Year:
All's quiet in the small Vermont town of Hazelville as Memorial Day approaches until a string of mysterious deaths begin plaguing forest ranger Mark Cody. As hikers and campers turn up dead, Cody struggles to figure out what's behind the murders while the Mayor looks to keep the deaths hush-hush, afraid it will affect tourism on the town's biggest money-making day of the year. Botanist Max Cooper arrives and determines them to have been victims of the dreaded "Great White Pine." After the Mayor refuses to close the woods and tragedy ensues on Memorial Day, Cody hires grizzled lumberjack Squint to hunt down and kill the voracious tree leading to Cody, Cooper, and Squint venturing out into the woods in Squint's old beat-up pick-up truck for a final showdown with the monster tree.
Cast overview, first billed only:
Kevin McCauley Kevin McCauley - Ranger Mark Cody
Philip M. Gardiner Philip M. Gardiner - Max Cooper (as Phil Gardiner)
Peter Randazzo Peter Randazzo - Squint the Lumberjack
Mary Ann Nilan Mary Ann Nilan - Helen Cody
Raymond Michaud Raymond Michaud - Mayor Swindell
Lorne Lakin Lorne Lakin - Dusty
Jerold Goldstein Jerold Goldstein - Melvin
Tom Erb Tom Erb - Fang
Chris Vicente Chris Vicente - Petey
Erin Reynolds Erin Reynolds - Nancy
George Vicente George Vicente - Chris
Jeff Merriman Jeff Merriman - Billy
Joe Miselis Joe Miselis - Matt Cody
Jackie McCauley Jackie McCauley - Mrs. Pierce
Tom O'Connor Tom O'Connor - Joshua

Trees (2000)

Shot entirely on digital video.

The movie is a Der weiße Hai (1975) parody and many lines are direct references: "That's the thing about trees... they're silent like the night! They don't make a noise... they just stand there." "Everyone out of the woods!" "This was no lawnmower accident!" "We tell them there's a killer tree on the loose, and you've got pandemonium on Memorial Day!" "Jim, if you open up those campgrounds on Memorial Day, well, it's like opening up a buffet, for chrissakes!" "Apparently, a great white pine has staked its claim to the woods around Hazelville." "A cage won't work with that tree!" "Didn't they say on TV they caught the tree?" "You're gonna need a bigger axe."

You can't get a better tribute to jaws, this movie had me laughing so hard. First lets look at the characters. From Jaws to Trees, Brodie became Cody (they actually look a bit a like), Quint became squint and hopper became cooper. Then you take the shark and make it a tree, Genius. OK, so next we swap the sea for a camp site and you've got one hell of a tribute. The script is full of cheese and the acting is awful, but there's something oddly entertaining here. When you get great lines like "where gonna need a bigger axe" and "get out of the woods" you know your onto a winner. The story follows jaws almost identically, with the obvious differences. If you want a great b-movie thats gonna crack you up then watch this, i have to find the sequel, i'm sure that too is gonna be awesome. But don't take my word on it, find it, watch it, enjoy it. Trees is one of the most entertaining movies i've ever seen. AWESOME
Yeah okay, it is low budget, and yeah the acting is horrible, but you have to see this movie to believe it, they did such a great parody of Jaws here, even down to the names and dialogue. You must watch this film, grab a brew, open some chips and just forget everything that you know about movies, just enjoy, you will be amazed at how crap like this can be so good....and if you can then watch the sequel also. You will not be too upset. I got this in a box set, I think Catacomb of Creepshows, from Pendulum Pictures, really not the best way to buy movies, out of the 50 you get about 5 good films and another dozen that are watchable, but hey I am in Iraq with nothing better to watch.
"Trees" is an obviously low-budget ($20,000) production that fails miserably as both a comedy and a horror. The writing provides no substance to any of the characters or situations and the actors fail to add any life to this picture. Some conversations in the movie drone on for minutes for no reason. For most of the movie the dialogue is out of synch with the actors' moving lips. I only watched this because it was filmed in my hometown. Do yourself a favor and skip it. However, do not miss the sequel "The Root of All Evil" which is far superior and vastly entertaining.
Considering Jaws is one of the greatest movies ever made, its pretty ingenious of a no-budget movie to be based almost scene for scene on that except the man-eating shark is replaced by a ludicrous man-eating pine tree. These movies are made to be cult hits, and they certainly are! Anyone who took this movie serious and insulted it clearly needs to get out more. This is pure tongue-in-cheek spoof at its finest. Even the character names are hilarious. In Jaws, Quint talks about never going back in the water again. In this, Squint spouting some speech about ''never going back in the forest again'' is so ridiculous my sides split. If you cant raise a smile when the evil tree gets his comeuppance at the end and the awful Brody or Cody or whatever his name is utters the iconic words ''smile you son of a sappling!'', then something is wrong with you. This movie is hardly up there with The Godfather or classics like that. It is a masterpiece of amateur film-making. Switch your brain off, get the popcorn ready and prepare to laugh so hard you'll wet your pants. Brilliant fun!
A giant lethal man-eating Great White Pine terrorizes the woods in the sleepy little hillbilly hamlet of Hazelville. This puts a major crimp in the town's annual Memorial Day celebration. After the tree attacks and devours a few folks, concerned, stalwart forest ranger Mark Cody (amiable Kevin McCauley), wimpy tree hugger bleeding heart liberal botanist Max Cooper (the equally affable Philip Gardiner), and crazed, obsessive macho redneck lumberjack Squint (deliciously played with mucho hammy aplomb by Peter Randazzo) join forces to track down and destroy the deadly rampaging plant. Writer/director/co-editor Michael Pleckaitis milks the silly premise of this enjoyably inane and practically scene-for-scene, shot-for-shot, line-for-line send-up homage to "Jaws" for all its worth, maintaining a constant quick pace throughout, deftly establishing a highly ingratiating mock-serious droll'n'deadpan tone ("The Blair Witch Project" throwaway joke is particularly amusing), sprinkling on a little cheesy gore (the blood looks just like red paint -- and probably was exactly that!), and coaxing winningly sincere performances from his enthusiastic no-name cast. Andrew Gernhard's rough, grainy, but fairly polished photography (the occasional use of wipes and the green-tinted killer tree on-the-prowl POV shots are pretty nifty) and Tom Destefano's ominously spooky'n'shuddery score are likewise on the money solid. A total hoot.
The town of Hazelville is besieged by a great white pine in this spoof on Jaws.

From the outset this film lays down it roots (sorry) with a title card stating that in 1975 Jaws broke all box office records and this film is a 25th anniversary homage to that film.

A lot of the scenes from Jaws are replicated with substituting the shark with a tree.

A dumb idea that kinda works and your enjoyment factor for this film will depend on your knowledge of Jaws, as you will have a greater understanding of what the filmmakers were trying to achieve. Yes it's low budget, but the film is quite well made and there is a great deal to see and it appears the budget was used well. The film appears to be shot on woodland locations, with a lot of actors and props to add to the look of the film. For example in one scene there is a number of real fire engines attending a incident. Most low budget films could not stretch to such extravagance.

My fairly low rating for this film is due to not having a great knowledge of Jaws, so some of the "homages" may have been lost on me and I did find my mind wandering from time to time. However I can appreciate that this is a film that tries it's best and has good intentions.

This film "branched" out (Sorry again) and spawned a sequel Trees 2, The root of all evil
A send-up of Jaws that firmly sticks to the original but substituting a shark with trees. It's funnier than that sounds thanks to some good jokes, quotable lines & pretty good performances. I healthy knowledge of Jaws makes the film much funnier, but its not a prerequisite. I found that the film dragged a bit towards the end but not enough to ruin the movie on the whole. Don't expect anything but a bit of goofy fun and you won't find yourself disappointed. Followed by a sequel that deviates from the source material that it parodies a tad more than this one does. Even though its not quite as good as this one was. This was definitely one of the highlights of the Catacomb of Creepshows box-set.
The charm of this little number is in the bad acting, the low budget and the obvious love for 'Jaws' that the film makers have. This is a film for people who know the movie 'Jaws' well enough to appreciate the gags as a lot of the jokes are clever nods towards the classic shark thriller, such as Squint's speech in the town meeting demanding a seemingly unreasonable $1,000 to catch the tree; "For that, you'll get the branches, the roots, the whole damn thing." 'Trees' is in no way a classic, it is just a clever little pastiche that maybe worth an hour and a half of your time.

Just once tho.
Trees is set in the small Vermont town of Hazelville in the US where forest Ranger Mark Cody (Kevin McCauley) gets a phone-call to inform him that a teenage girl is missing in his forest, eventually Cody & his Rangers find her mutilated remains. At first the coroner confirms it was a Tree attack but after local mayor Swindell (Raymond Michaud) puts the pressure on the coroner changes their mind & puts it down to a lawnmower accident, Cody calls in Tree expert Max Cooper (Phil Gardiner) & he feels a Great White Pine is loose in the forest killing anyone it comes across. With memorial day weekend fast approaching the mayor doesn't want any bad publicity that might harm the town's tourism business but Cody & Cooper are convinced more innocent campers & hikers will die at the leaves of the killer Tree & set out to cut it down to size...

Set decoration, production design, co-casting, co-edited, co-executive produced, written & directed by Michael Pleckaitis who also gets credits for special effects, carpentry & sound effects this is essentially a rather bland parody of Jaws (1975) with silly killer Trees instead of a Great White Shark, if it sounds stupid to you then don't worry because it is. The entire plot of Trees is an exact copy of Jaws as the forest replaces the ocean, a killer Tree replaces the Shark, campers replace tourists, there's the town mayor who doesn't want any bad publicity, there's the kid that gets killed & the angry mother, Cooper the Tree expert is here instead of the Shark expert in Jaws, amateur hunters kill a Tree & the two leads open it up to discover no human body parts, the final confrontation features kegs on chains & an explosive end for the Tree menace while the hardened old hunter goes from Quint the Shark killer to Squint the lumberjack who even gets to tell an old story about how his war mates were massacred by a killer Tree. Obviously not taking itself seriously Trees has an outrageous concept & is very silly but it's main downfall is that it's simply not funny in the slightest & while trying to send-up a genuine classic comes across as a very, very poor relation. Virtually every scene or line of dialogue is a homage or rip-off (whichever way you look at it) of Jaws in some way, to be brutally honest you would be much better off just watching Jaws again. At a shade over 85 minutes in length Trees might have worked better as an hour long short rather than a full blown feature film as the material goes stale very, very quickly. There's just not enough here to sustain an entire film, as I said the entire plot follows Jaws almost exactly so it's utterly predictable & the only laughs come from whether you find the idea of a killer Tree funny or not. Which I didn't.

Besides Jaws this film also references a few other's like the eating game from Cool Hand Luke (1967) & The Blair Witch Project (1999) after a film can labelled 'Witch Project' is found inside a Tree in what I thought was the films single most amusing moment. Obviously shot on a tiny budget there are no special effects to speak of, there's a severed leg & a moving Tree but nothing else, the moving Tree looks pretty bad like it's just some production crew member with branches stuck on them running around. Stick around for the end credits as they feature lots of bloopers & mistakes as actor's get their lines wrong or the cameraman falls over while running through the woods. Even though I have seen the sequel Trees 2: The Root of All Evil (2004) because my review of it is on the IMDb I cannot remember a single thing about it although I also gave that three stars so I couldn't have liked it that much.

Shot entirely on digital video Trees looks cheap, it looks like the sort of film you would make with a camcorder from the 90's. Filmed in Connecticut. The acting is poor, I am sure Kevin McCauley got the lead role because of his resemblance to Roy Scheider.

Trees is basically a camp comedy send-up of Jaws, the main problem as I saw it was that Trees just isn't funny in the slightest & the one note joke gets old & tiresome very fast. They even shamelessly rip-off the classic line 'we're going to need a bigger boat' with 'we're going to need a bigger axe', if that sounds funny to you then you might like Trees & if it doesn't you probably, like me, won't.