I didn’t care much for this movie, which upsets me since I was expecting a lot out of it. I’m always seeing this film referenced and I’ve been told on a couple of occasions how great it is. So I’m not sure what I was expecting, but it certainly wasn’t this. Flowers in the Attic felt disjointed, like pieces were missing and it was almost unbearably slow-paced. The ending also kind of left me scratching my head, but more on that later.
After the sudden death of their father, siblings Cathy (Kristy Swanson), Chris (Jeb Stuart Adams), Cory (Ben Ryan Ganger), and Carrie (Lindsay Parker) are brought by their mother Corinne (Victoria Tennant) to their strict, religious grandmother Olivia’s (Louise Fletcher) home. Corinne’s returning home to try to win back her father’s love, having been disinherited years ago. When they arrive the children are locked into a bedroom with a closet and adjoining bathroom. Olivia reveals to the children, whom she openly detests, are the children of incest. That their father was their mother Olivia’s uncle and that marrying him resulted in her being disinherited. Their mother later confirms this, but claims that as her father is close to forgiving her. The closet in the children’s room has a secret stairwell that leads to the large open attic, this is where the children spend much of the time the spend in captivity. The children see their mother visits start coming with less frequency. The children also suffer a bevy of other horrors at the hands of their grandmother. Until after the death of Cory, Chris and Cathy decided it’s time to leave…
So, I want to start by talking about a few things I really couldn’t help but notice. First it always felt like I was missing something, like things were accidentally left out. Turns out it wasn’t an accident,as Jeffery Bloom this films mostly director has stated that a number of scenes were left out. Which brings me to point number two, the ending. So, spoiler. Cathy attacks her mother resulting in her death felt super out of place and out-of-character for Cathy. Apparently Jeffery Bloom had another ending, and the film’s producers wanted a new one. the situation ended with Bloom quitting. So, another director got brought in to shoot the new ending and since Bloom quit, he had no hand when it came to editing. Knowing this I understand what the films a mess, but that still doesn’t excuse my next point.
Flowers in the Attic is incredibly slow-paced. It’s only 93 minutes long, it felt easily twice as long. It feels as if absolutely nothing is happening for long swaths of time. I do have to admit that Flowers in the Attic isn’t the slowest film I’ve ever seen, not be a sizable margin. But it’s still bad enough that it becomes a serious issue.
On the other side of the coin the film was well acted. Louise Fletcher comes off as cold, ruthless and uncaring. Everything you want in this kind of villain and plays very well off Kristy Swanson. Who comes off as compassionate, trusting and vulnerable, in fact all the children do. Without this cast I would hate to see what this film would have been like.
Final thoughts, ugh? I mean… I just didn’t care for it. It has its good, it just feels weighed down by the pacing and choppy story. I feel that had Bloom’s vision been allowed to come to fruition, I would be talking about drastically better film. Better yet, they should have just gone with Wes Craven’s version of the script. That would have been amazing. 4/10