Bellflower: Doing the Apocalypse on a budget 

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click to enlarge Bellflower1.jpeg

We're on the eve of the Apocalypse and Woodrow (Evan Glodell) and Aiden (Tyler Dawson) are getting ready for the post-apocalyptic fun. Best friends since childhood, the guys are obsessed with The Road Warrior. What's not to love? Anarchy, cool clothes, bad-ass posturing, girls, violence, fire and figures like the magnificent Lord Humungus, the "ayatollah of rock-and-rollah." Preparing for the aftermath, Woodrow and Aiden work on making their own mega flamethrower and souping up a car that will be appropriate for their Road Warrior world. Then Woodrow falls for the impulsive Milly (Jessie Wiseman) and Aiden gets a crush on Milly's best friend Courtney (Rebekah Brandes). On the sidelines is Mike (Vincent Grashaw), Milly's platonic (?) roommate. Everything gets complicated. For the five young adults, the Apocalypse may come early.

In addition to playing Woodrow, Evan Glodell wrote and directed the film, as well as customizing the cameras and souping up the aforementioned death-mobile. The movie was made for an astonishingly low $17,000, and Glodell gets the most out of every penny. The production puts viewers squarely into the boys' end-of-the-world perspective with menacing sound effects and music, a palette of yellows and oranges, jump-cuts to past and future incidents, and the inclusion of fantasy into the real goings-on. The focus is a bit fuzzy at times and the camera lens occasionally gets smeared, adding to the DIY sense of immediacy and borderline chaos.

Who are the guys? Here's an excerpt from a pep talk Aiden gives to Woodrow. "Can you imagine two sweet-ass dudes like us in that car traveling through the desert across America? We would look so fucking cool! We would go places and park the car where we know we look cool, hang out smoking cigarettes leaning against the car looking cool and let the people look at us. We could get trashed on drugs in the middle of nowhere and drive 150 miles an hour naked down the freeway and hang out the windows shooting shotguns at freeway signs and fucking historical landmarks and jackrabbits. Dude, you are fucking Lord Humungus, the master of fire, the king of the wasteland!"

That's Aiden, who generally takes the leadership role in the friendship. Woodrow, on the other hand, laughs nervously and too often, trying to win the approval of Milly by overreacting positively to most everything she says. When trouble hits, he reacts in a similarly showy fashion. Woodrow is very good at playing the victim and Glodell is very good at playing Woodrow.

The rest of the cast is fine, but the story is about the boys and life through their eyes. There are some major violent moments that some may find disturbing. I won't go into details, but I must say that whoever came up with the sound effect of a baseball bat solidly cracking someone in the noggin deserves a gold star. Bellflower has plenty of crude and nasty moments, all of which help realize the worldview of two twenty-somethings who worship Lord Humungus.

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