Six dead women relive pieces of their previous mucky lives embodied in one seamless soul that’s trapped in the literally gory innards of their serial killer’s home. Forcibly held in the limbo of a filthy purgatory, each woman find themselves in a different, and extremely hellish, part of the house and each carry the same gruesome autopsy laceration across the front of their chest, crudely stitched together and coming apart at the seam ready to pop open their insides at any moment. Unknown to why their confined, an ill-fated reason develops at the end of the maze’s demented journey through the home made of severed body parts, decorated with pieces of human tissue, filled with decomposing bodies, strewn with ghastly entrails, and drenched with blood.
Director Phil Stevens composes an avant-garde horror story orchestrated with no dialogue what so ever through the duration and spatially effective in close, uncomfortable quarters . Certainly unique from anything else I’ve ever witnessed, “Flowers” doesn’t apologize for being overly gory and disgusting, pursuing a stomach-churning reaction from all allegoric angles. Slip-and-sliding through the murderous muck and goop, each of the six dead women seem hysterically unfaded, yet more intriguingly curious to their surroundings, even if that means putting their hands through a tonnage of viscera and ripping their own flesh open. Indie films like Phil Stevens’s “Flowers” will never catch the eye of most mainstream audiences and will never know of their existence, but a few lucky viewers, like myself, get to experience the surreal work from the horror underground. Fans of Marlan Dora’s “Cannibal” or Jörg Buttgereit “Nekromantik” will revel in “Flowers’s” grisliness and gloomy nature.
The cast is made up of six alternative lifestyle women, each one credited only as Flower 1 through 6, and take up a particular different segment and sprinkled into their story is their merciless and necrophiliac killer, only credited by the name The Exile. In sequential order, the Flowers are played by Colette Kenny McKenna, Krystle Fitch, Anastasia Blue, Tanya Erin Paoli, Kara A. Christiansen, and Makaria Tsapatoris and the killer is played by Bryant W. Lohr Sr. The majority of the actresses take on more than their literal roles in the movie. The physical body horror effects are applied by Anastasia Blue and Krystle Fitch to create open wounds across the actress’s chests and the uncleanliness costumes and wardrobes are provided by Makaria Tsapatoris, whose experience has been from the 15 year participation of the horror season attraction Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia.
The abstract story is intensively focused on the women’s lives rather than their slaughterer The Exile. Their stories are personally tragic as if the Flowers are trying to purposefully or unintentionally ignore real life by way of drug abuse, prostitution, or both. Each actress has to put forth extra effort in their silent performances as dialogue is nonexistent and they’ve successfully compel themselves to act out the scenario, working with their surroundings and being, well, dead. The Flowers may not seem frightened of their killer’s house made of guts, but the Flowers are definitely disgusted, nearly tossing their insides in a few putrid cladded rooms. You may not want to eat while watching some of the segments. Very little is known about The Exile, a very large, but well kept man with a hankering to kill the gutter girls, bathe in their guts, and, sometimes, have sex with their gut-exposed dead body.
“Flowers” is available in two DVD editions, a standard one disc which is reviewed here and a three disc limited edition set, from Unearthed Films and distributed by MVDVisual. The technical video is presented in a widescreen 1.85:1 aspect ratio with a 2.0 dolby digital audio and, frankly, the two channel audio is all “Flowers” needs with no dialogue or major sound effects as a poetic soundtrack guides with harmony mostly through all of the audio work. The image quality is detailed and vividly enticing, but the colors are intentionally dull and for darker scenes that create ebony silhouettes that are practically not visible or coherent; these scenes only deter for only the first 20 minutes of crawling through the house’s bloody undercarriage and won’t ruin the remainder. For only the disc one edition, extras are fairly good with interviews with The Exile actor Bryant W. Lohr Sr., an audition tape of Makaria Tsapatoris, behind the scene stills, an isolated FX track, and commentary tracks with director Phil Stevens and associate producer “Ravage’s” Ronnie Sortor. I recommend the grotesque “Flowers” to any horror fan without a weak stomach and a mind for the abstract!