Wednesday, October 28, 2015

FLOWERS (2014)

FLOWERS (2014)

Label: Unearthed Films
Region Code: 1
Rating: Unrated
Duration: 79 Minutes
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen (1.85:1)
Director: Phil Stevens
Cast: Colette Kenny Mckenna, Krystle Fitch, Anastasia Blue,Tanya Erin Paoli, Kara A. Christiansen, Makaria Tsapatoris, Bryant W. Lohr Sr., Raychelle Keeling

Synopsis: Some don't understand when the roller-coaster of life stops and their life ends. Some go up and others... find themselves in Purgatory to either find redemption or to choose damnation. Where do the murder victims go when they have a chance to choose' A mind-bending, artistic ride down the road to hell. Are you willing to damn yourself or accept salvation' 

Experimental art house gore movie Flowers (2014) comes to us by way of director Phil Stevens and the good folks at Unearthed Film, a strange brew of a movie bereft of any dialogue and dripping with dread and surreal and gruesome imagery from start to finish. We begin with a woman waking up in the filthy crawl space beneath a house, she's crawling through the mud, pulling her self over decaying bodies and human bones, a nightmare world. What we come to realize is that she, along with several other unfortunate women, are dead, they've been murdered by the serial killer who lives in the home they now find themselves now trapped beneath, in a surreal purgatory nightmare. 

Like I would imagine purgatory to be there's no sense of time, this is a non-linear story with no spoken dialog, there are however disgusting sound effects and an eerie atonal sound design to accompany each of the sequences, the home of the serial killer is the stuff of nightmares, the floors and walls are vile, the bathroom made my stomach churn, dead bodies are stuffed inside the walls of the home. The killer walks around his home in dirty underwear, and each of the women, who seem to be trapped in some sort of after-death purgatory, left to wander the home as if to bare witness to their own deaths at the hands of a murderous lunatic, everything here is straight-up depressing, there's no light at the end of this tunnel for the viewers.

Flowers is a low-budget movie, but theres some true art-house lensing on display to enjoy if you can get past the gore and guts. The color has been desaturated to a near sepia-tone flatness and I liked the look of it quite a bit, I dig the style. But I need a movie with not just style but some substance, and watching a movie without story and character proved tiring after a short time. There's no one here for me to engage with other than an unrelenting series of depressing and nauseating visuals, and for some that will be enough, but this downer of a movie did very little for me. I might have enjoyed this more in a cinema in a festival setting, but on my couch by myself I was watching the clock and waiting long before it came to and end. 

For the purpose of this review I was sent the single-disc version from Unearthed Films which does include a handful of extras, there's also a 3-disc Limited Edition version available with a CD soundtrack and additional extras for fans of the movie and collector's.

Single-Disc Edition Special Features:
- Unearthed Trailer Reel
- Behind the Scenes Stills(15 Mins) (99 Images)
- Audition Tape with Makaria Tsapatoris (15 Mins)
- Interview with Bryant w. Lohr Sr (10 Mins)
- Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Phil Stevens
- Audio Commentary with editor Ronnie Sortor
- Isolated FX Track
- Unearthed Trailer Reel

I appreciated the dour tone, the gruesome special effects, and the haunting quality of the after-life purgatory but without some character to bite into I was left cold, and I don't  see re watching it anytime soon. Flowers is a unique vision from a young director with obvious skill, I applaud Unearthed Films for taking a chance on it, but it's not for me. 2/5


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