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While Thorns for Flowers heavily leans into its evocative atmosphere, it gives equal weight to the plot as well. To his credit, de Lioncourt manages to address most of the questions the story raises in a satisfactory manner (Who was the guy with the dog collar? Where did the bottomless pit in the woods come from?) and even saves time for a twist that, while not entirely necessary, is nonetheless effective and compelling.

Looking like Trent Reznor with shoulder-length, scraggly hair, Clemente doesn’t provide much in the way of charisma in the leading role. He speaks much of his dialogue in a faint whisper that, at times, amounts to nothing more than incoherent mumbling. Moody and somber is one thing; unintelligible is quite another. Strelitz has that ethereal quality that suits the material perfectly; she even reminded me of Sissy Spacek circa Carrie, with her carefree beauty and long, flowing blond hair.

“…the crowning achievement of the film is its evocation of mood…”

Embracing the independent spirit of the production, de Lioncourt’s additional responsibilities include editor, sound designer, composer (both fabulous), and cinematographer. Seeking to further conjure up the mood, ambiance, and style of a 1970s low-budget shocker, the multi-hyphenate includes no less than two musical interludes with Leo and Catherine, bathed in the sun’s soft glow, running through a clearing like two free lovebirds. The minimalist music used throughout the film typically consists of nothing more than piano notes and elegiac vocals reminiscent of the theme from Rosemary’s Baby.

But the crowning achievement of the film is its evocation of mood: eerie, menacing, and peculiar. Exhibiting time and tonal specificity and a loopy story worthy of the low-budget thrillers of the era, Thorns for Flowers is, indeed, the kind of movie they don’t make anymore. I had to double-check the copyright to make sure it was made in this decade.

Thorns for Flowers (2016)

Directed and Written: Anthony de Lioncourt

Starring: Vance Clemente, Gary Marachek, Samantha Strelitz, Alissa Simmons, Oev Urbas, Antonio E. Silva, Yaron Urbas, Patrick Clark, etc.

Movie score: 7.5/10

Thorns for Flowers Image

"…Thorns for Flowers is, indeed, the kind of movie they don’t make anymore."

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