Sasha Louis Vukovic‘s Flora made its world debut at the Sci-Fi London Film Festival on 29 April. Set in 1929 the film follows a group of students who travel deep into the wilderness on the Canadian frontier to join a botanical expedition. however when they arrive they discover that everybody has left and all the food has been burnt.
Examination of the missing expedition’s notes reveal that the spores of a tiny fungus endemic to the area poisoned the team, but not before driving them mad. So with only a day to go before the spores are due to be released they decide to leg it back to civilisation after fashioning their own protective suits out of the spare tents.
On the plus side Flora is beautifully shot with some simply to die for views of the Canadian woodlands, has nice hard and effective sound design, terrific costume design and period props and a great score by Nathan Prillaman. However for what is essentially a monster in the woods movie, for me what Flora really lacked was a real hands on monster. Sure some of the group got sick and died, but at very close to a two-hour run time much more should have been made of the pre-death hallucinations and madness, subjects that were only just barely touched upon and the deaths needed to have been made bit more graphically gory (which is not a thing I’d usually suggest) to make up for the lack of a tangible monster in a film that is mostly about people running away and then nobly going back to collect their mates who fall behind and consequently becoming infected themselves . To my mind Flora also needs some brutal cuts made to its running time to tighten the action up and prevent the watcher’s mind from wandering elsewhere.
Nicely made, but needs a bit of pruning we give Flora a 333/666