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Ann, a reclusive elegant lady, with an obsession for butterflies, is surprisingly befriended by the eerily beautiful young Alice. Using her seductive innocence, Alice establishes a disturbing mother daughter relationship with Ann. Lured into her twisted world, Ann soon discovers that she is not the only recipient of the girl's affections.Written by
While the main title claims the plot is based on director Zarantonello's novel "Alice dalle 4 alle 5". However, no such novel was ever published: the film is in fact a remake-expansion on Zarantonello's earlier short film "Alice dalle 4 alle 5" (2000) See more »
Mrs. Barbara Steele is STILL one dangerously seductive and deadly momma!
As soon as it got listed in the official program of the 30th annual Belgian Festival of Fantastic Films, I've been eagerly anticipating to see "The Butterfly Room". For obvious reasons, I presume, namely the return of horror diva Barbara Steele – the legendary beautiful and hypnotizing lead actress of such Gothic horror milestones as "Black Sunday", "The Pit and the Pendulum" and "Castle of Blood". The casting of Steele is the undeniable highlight, of course, but writer/director Jonathan Zarantonello's whole incentive of making a thriller solely revolving on female protagonists is enormously respectable and, in fact, quite innovative as the horror genre still somewhat remains a masculine world where women are often degraded to inferior roles. Apart from Barbara Steele, Zarantonello managed to gather the dignified horror ladies Erica Leerhsen ("The Texas Chainsaw Massacre"), Camille Keaton ("I Spit on your Grave"), Adrienne King ("Friday the 13th), PJ Soles ("Halloween") and Heather Langenkamp ("Nightmare on Elm Street"). To defend the honor of the male sex, there's also Ray Wise ("Twin Peaks"). I easily daresay this is the most remarkable and jaw-dropping ensemble horror cast since many years!
The plot itself also contains great thriller potential and a worthy amount of isolated moments of greatness, but sadly I have to admit that the wholesome is too often tedious and never appears to find a stable pacing. Steele is splendid as the aging but nevertheless still very stylish and fashionable Ann, a lonely woman who reverts to her hobby of collecting butterflies and exhibiting them in a sober room where only she's allowed to enter. Ann is always eager to babysit her neighbor's young daughter and she also takes obsessive custody of a girl she met at the shopping mall, because her motherly instincts remain unanswered. But Ann's caring personality also has a grim dark side that gradually comes to the surface. "The Butterfly Room" is 100% American produced, but the atmosphere feels totally European, more particularly reminiscent of those typically lurid Italian gialli and psychedelic dramas. The roots of director Zarantonello and the decades of Barbara Steele's horror experience are clearly detectable. Despite the brooding atmosphere throughout, the vast majority of the film is regrettably tame, but luckily this gets compensated with a neatly unsettling and grisly denouement. Beautiful imagery and tasteful photography complete this worthwhile effort that particularly comes recommended to admirers of strong feminine horror ladies and nostalgia.
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