I’m surprised “Treehouse” ends up being the best episode of Blumhouse and Hulu’s ambitious anthology “Into the Dark,” yet. I have to admit that I hated James Roday’s “Gravy,” so to see him approach “Treehouse” with a very relevant message, an inherent tone of terror, and some darkly comic undertones, was a welcome surprise. “Into the Dark” has been more hit than miss since its introduction in October, but with “Treehouse” it hits right out of the park as an ode to spring that explores hell having no fury like a woman scorned.
Jimmi Simpson plays celebrity chef Peter Rake, a man who spends most of his time berating his staff for his hit show and doing as much as possible to avoid spending time with his daughter. When he decides to get away for the weekend to visit his sister at his father’s old house in an effort to dodge scandalous accusations made toward him, he’s surprised to see how little has changed. He is also uneasy when he realizes much of the décor has changed including some eerie paintings on the walls. When a group of women camping in the woods shows up at his house after a power outage, Peter invites them in for a party. After a day of drinking and eating, he awakens the next morning, horrified to realize he’s been ensnared in a trap that will bring secrets back to the surface.
“Treehouse” is a twisty, bendy, and very elaborate horror thriller that spends most of its time on exploring how the deeds we commit as children can never be undone. Best of all, director James Roday decides to use the theme of spring to tackle the #MeToo movement in a tale that completely flips the script on the audience during the second chapter. I could kind of see what was coming once we were introduced to the women having a bachelorette party across the woods, but when Peter awakens to the beginning of his ordeal, it’s a gradual rise in to terror that he never comes down from. Simpson is very good as this neurotic and often self obsessed celebrity chef who is wholly convinced that he’s the protagonist of his own story.
Roday builds a great respective cast that work well off of Simpson including Stephanie Beatriz, Julianna Guill, Mary McCormack, and Sophia Del Pizzo. “Treehouse” is a much needed and relevant tale about the past coming back to haunt us, as Roday and the series confront ideas concerning the #MeToo movement and how much predators can rationalize and simplify their deeds. At the end of the episode, it’s not just a revenge tale, but a look at how little these acts can mean to the people that perpetrate them based entirely on privilege. Roday is able to balance out horror, dark comedy, and strong drama perfectly, examining a world where these horrendous sex crimes are consistently ignored, and the victims collectively decided enough is enough.
“Treehouse” is a fantastic and well constructed horror drama with Simpson handling this flawed, often unlikable character well. While the narrative does get a bit too much with about six or so plot twists, it manages to come up as a mesmerizing and entertaining tale of karmic justice. It’s a stellar, beautifully acted tale of vindication that we need a lot more of in this day and age.
“Into the Dark” is now streaming exclusively on Hulu.