Earlier in the year, I jumped on the Phil Stevens bandwagon and reviewed Lung II. I absolutely loved that film. In that review, I referred to it as this year’s Tantrum. I still believe that it is the best indie film I’ve seen this year, 8 months later. So while it took me awhile to pick up his previous film from Unearthed Films, I am totally pumped to bring you a retrospective through the rest of his films.
Most people had already seen Flowers before Lung II. I have the strange opportunity to watch his films in reverse order, with all viewings being first time views. So last night I watched Flowers and I can totally tell where the filming and musical techniques used in Lung II came from.
Flowers is an eighty minute visual and auditory experience that is truly horrific. If centers around six women who have been the victims or horrific crimes. The entire film takes place in a claustrophobic world. The house in which the film is shot is dark and dirty. It is a horrifically designed setting creating a very unsettling feeling in the viewer. On top of that, it has some absolutely disgusting gore work. This guy is possibly one of the best dark artists out there. He even draws and paints some sick stuff that can found at his StoreEnvy site.
The music is subtle, and builds throughout the film. It is simplistic and soothing at times; thus, adding to the juxtaposition created by the disgusting setting. While you are often thrust into tightly confined spaces in the home, with close up shots of the women, the music creates an eerie comfort despite the violence that is abound.
So as I stick to this bandwagon, I can tell you that this film is almost as good as Lung II. In fact, the way the story is told, through subtle and surreal slow reveals, I would say that it is easily as good for most viewers and collectors. The only thing that gives Lung II a slight advantage in my book was the excellent black and white cinematography. I loved the look of that film. I feel like the lack of dialogue and eerie music just fit the art-house feel of Lung.
With all of that being said, Flowers possesses all of the positive aspects of the previously mentioned film. It is an odd experience that fuses surrealism with a legitimate mystery story. It seems to be technically connected to his most recent film, showing some of the earlier ideas of this sick genius. As I move through his next films, which go back even further in his career, you will surely see the progression of a truly artistic filmmaker.