I've always had a soft spot for supernatural horror - supernatural anything really. The double whammy for myself is when a film, or in this case series, starts sprinkling in small tid-bits of religion inspired concepts. Hell, demons, and of course the universal ideas of what good and evil really are. There is so much source material to base an idea off of, but the real trick? Coming up with something shiny and new. A fresh concept with little off-shoots into familiar territory.
Watching what I assume is a combined version of the smaller episodes, making up season two of "Under The Flowers" from Richard T Wilson, I had one concern right off the hop. Would I be able to follow along? Considering I haven't seen season one, it was a valid question. Was enough present to allow me to meet some of these characters for the first time? I'm glad to say that although I could feel there was much more to this world than I was seeing, I had no problems following along with Rose in what I believe is called the in-between. With flashes of a darker plain, and who I assume is the lead of season one, Charlotte converses with the dark force who is the puppet master of this horrific ordeal. Let the battle of the soul(s) continue...
What really struck me about this series turned short film? It was the atmosphere created by Richard T Wilson and his troupe of talented cast mates. If there was nothing else at all, the creepy, eerie vibe would be worth two stars by itself. Although by no means a graphic production, no excessive blood and gore, there is still that something - creating a truly awkward viewing experience. Awkward in a good way of course. This is done mostly through the post production process, and this same love for the creepy audio and visuals - brings me to my next few points of discussion...
... their excessive use. I can think of very few shots within "Circle Of Hell" that are not manipulated in some way. Filters, overlays - pretty much everything and the kitchen sink are thrown into this film. The problem is that instead of using these effects to forward the story, they end up becoming the story. I can't deny that these same effects give "Under The Flowers" that eerie vibe I was writing about earlier; but when watching all the combined episodes, it becomes quite tedious before the end credits roll. Maybe it's less of a system shock watching each episode individually? The way they were originally intended? However, I can't help but feel that Richard T Wilson still hasn't quite perfected their use. Once a good mix of standard, non effect shots are balanced with those splendid overlays and filters, we'll really have something to talk about.
Post production aside, I did enjoy the story and the cast who play these interesting roles. Our three leading ladies clearly took their roles seriously - and it shows again and again through the film. I should also point out that I loved our evil baddie. Can't really say he looked all that scary, since we don't really see him - but that voice? Spot on! When I write we don't really see him, I'm not totally sure if that's true or not. A scene at the end, involving an apple? Maybe that was him in a human form? Who can say at this point right?
At the end of the day, even with what I consider an overuse of effects, "Under The Flowers: Circle Of Hell" was what I would say considerably above average. On top of everything that I've written above, there was also that unmistakable feeling I wanted to see more. That says volumes in itself. For anyone interested in this genre of film/series... this ones well worth checking out - liking, following and just keeping up with. A great job all around.