THE FLOWER TAPES was featured at this year’s Unnamed Footage Festival. A title I like because ‘found footage’ hasn’t always seemed quite right when covering any type of movie that is shot featuring a handheld or amateur camera. So, when Unnamed Footage Festival says it covers found footage, faux-documentary, screen life film, and POV cinema, I think that sums it up nicely.
HE FLOWER TAPES follows a man who has recently broken up with his girlfriend, well as he puts it, he was dumped. And because of this, he has decided to make a video diary of his alone trip to where they used to spend vacations together. Unfortunately for him, someone has decided to spy on what he is doing and filming it themselves.
On a very low budget and a loose script, THE FLOWER TAPES was shot during quarantine at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. This means that we get a lot of footage of one guy talking into his own handheld camera or phone and telling us how he is feeling. This might not sound like the most interesting or entertaining thing to watch but thankfully Sean Beagan in the lead role is very watchable and has the character down perfectly. This is most likely helped by the loose script but somehow, him complaining about his life and his ex-girlfriend is very entertaining. We also get to see his slow descent into, well not quite madness, but more helplessness on how his life is going downhill. He starts drinking more and more, waking up worrying about the things he can’t remember. But things are going even worse than he believes because someone is not only watching him but getting much closer when he is passed out.
I wouldn’t call THE FLOWER TAPES an out-and-out scary horror movie, although it didn’t legitimately make me jump out of my seat with one scare and that’s more than many modern horror movies can. That scare is really well shot too because you think you see it coming but it still gets you. That said, this is more of a psychological slow-burn thriller that leads to an expected but no less intriguing ending. The conclusion does leave many unanswered questions but this isn’t always a bad thing and, with THE FLOWER TAPES, it worked okay for me. There are only brief clues as to the possible motivations of the man’s followers and who is behind it all. This might be because of the budget and that it was shot during quarantine but it could easily be the director’s choice too. Sometimes it’s better to let the audience fill in the gaps themselves and try to work out what is going on.
The moments of horror don’t quite have the impact that they might have with a bigger budget but it doesn’t take much away from the movie. The filmmakers make good use of camera angles to make things look as natural as possible. These are the moments of the movie that don’t feel quite ‘real’ though
THE FLOWER TAPES goes to show that with a charismatic and engrossing lead and some good ideas, you can make an engaging movie under any circumstances. Fans of unnamed footage movies will no doubt get the most from this but there’s plenty here for fans of thrillers, drama, and horror. The biggest compliment I can give THE FLOWER TAPES is that it has made me check out more low-budget unnamed footage movie from the last year or two.