Black Flowers (2018) – Film Review

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Director: Martin Gooch
Cast: Krista DeMille, Andrea Sweeney Blanco, Jesus Lloveras

by Roger Crow / @RogerCrow

Post-apocalyptic adventures are divided into two camps: Mad Max (the gold standard of the genre) and everything else. This low budget offering opens with a nice galactic zoom-in of earth, dissolves to fun and frolics by the beach, and then, as the titles finish, we’re in radioactive territory.

A couple of years after an atomic blast, a family of nice scavengers make their way through what looks like the Canadian wilderness. “Without gasoline, electricity, or communications, humanity is devolving into a barbarous society of hunting and pillaging.” promises the advertising blurb.

However, what we get is soccer mum Kate, whose idea of resourcefulness is dreamily grabbing four pairs of swimming goggles at a shop rather than food, medicine, water or ammunition. She even counts them to remind us that there are now four of the travellers. Handsome loner (and charisma vacuum) Joe has joined the nuclear family. Later she loses her injured survivalist husband Sam. Little wonder. He probably lost the will to live.

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“Some stylistic touches”

More of a tragedy is her lovestruck daughter Suzi. That leaves Kate with Joe, so they go in search of a rumoured hidden nuclear bunker full of food and medicine. Suddenly alone, lost in the chemical clouds and pursued by murderous scavengers, Kate fights to stay alive.

It’s written and directed by Doctors and Hollyoaks veteran Martin Gooch, so he knows how to construct a modestly budgeted drama and sustain the interest.

Black Flowers is not a bad movie but it’s not great either. The gaping plot holes are balanced by some stylistic touches. When it comes to outdoor night shoots, you can never go wrong with a smoke machine, trees and high powered torch beams to make a cheap movie look more expensive than it is.

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“Okay time-passer”

It’s the sort of film that pops up on Sky Cinema Premiere in six months’ time as they honour their contractual “new film every day” clause.

So, not the sort of movie you’ll be desperate to see, but an okay time-passer regardless. With some script polish and better actors, this could have been a cult classic instead of a by-the-numbers thriller.

Krista DeMille, Andrea Sweeney Blanco and Jesus Lloveras are good, not great, while the okay supporting cast includes Domenica Cameron-Scorsese, William Mark McCullough and Neil Dickson.


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