THE BUTTERFLY ROOM (2012) – On DVD from 10th February 2014 [Grimmfest 2013 Review]

Directed by:
Written by: , ,
Starring: , , , , , ,


Novel written and film directed by Jonathan Zarantonello
Screened at Grimmfest 2013

A reclusive woman named Ann, who spends most of her time collecting and framing butterflies in her apartment, begins to show interest in her neighbour’s daughter, Julie (Ellery Sprayberry). Her maternal instinct finds her playing guardian to Julie whilst her mother is away, but as time passes by, we discover that this isn’t the first time Ann has made a little friend, as her dark secrets lay just behind a closed door…

Cult horror fans will be overjoyed at this classic style horror that stars the iconic Barbara Steele as obsessive Ann. In THE BUTTERFLY ROOM, Ann begins as a sympathetic character, a woman who lives on her own and has a fascination with butterflies, meticulously arrange them in her room. Her interest in little girls seems quite innocent at first, as she appears to just want that mother-daughter relationship that many women instinctly crave. However, as the film unfolds, we see her past friendship with a young girl called Alice (Julia Putnam), who takes advantage of Ann’s kind nature. But Ann is no innocent party, as she treats Alice as though she’s her own daughter, forcing the young girl to write with her right hand despite being left-handed and instructing the young girl not to do certain things. As the full story of their relationship unfolds, we discover just what Ann is capable of and what that may mean for poor little Julie who’s stuck in her care whilst her mother’s away with her fancy man.

I love a good story and by jove, has The Butterfly Room got it. The characters are developed extremely well, with the viewer experiencing different emotions for Ann as the film progresses. We see her as being a harmless eccentric but then we discover darker secrets within until the final act. The film is very much human and explores the mother-daughter relationship in great detail and the lengths one person will go to preserve it.

As I mentioned before, horror fans will thoroughly enjoy this movie, especially with the appearances of cult stars P.J. Soles and Nightmare On Elm Street‘s ‘Nancy’, Heather Langenkamp. It’s slow-burning approach and stellar acting will mean the horror will creep upon you slowly until it has you trapped right at the very end. The focus of butterfly collecting as a hobby is an unusual one that will capture the viewer’s curiousity at the start and is a theme that continues throught the movie. There’s old skool scares aplenty and the usage of the creepy kid is used to good effect. Just remind us never to piss Ms Steele off, yeah?

From all the films shown at Grimmfest 2013 film festival, The Butterfly Room is the one that I’d thoroughly call classic horror. It achieves its goals in such a complete way, with both storytelling and acting, and feels so old-fashioned at its core that it’s like being blast to the past. They say things come round in circles, and I certainly hope this type of horror does, as it’s a long time coming and could teach those young whipper snappers a thing or two.

Thrilling and memorable, The Butterfly Room is a thoroughly enjoyable, must-see old-skool horror.

Rating: ★★★★☆

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About Bat 4417 Articles
I love practical effects, stop-motion animation and gore, but most of all I love a good story! I adore B-movies and exploitation films in many of their guises and also have a soft spot for creature features. I review a wide range of media including movies, TV series, books and videogames. I'm a massive fan of author Hunter S. Thompson and I enjoy various genre of videogames with Kingdom Hearts and Harvest Moon two of my all time favs. Currently playing: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Yakuza Zero and Mafia III.

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