Bellflower (film)

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Bellflower Poster.jpg
Teaser poster
Directed by Evan Glodell
Produced by Vincent Grashaw
Evan Glodell
Screenplay by Evan Glodell
Story by Evan Glodell
Starring Evan Glodell
Jessie Wiseman
Tyler Dawson
Rebekah Brandes
Cinematography Joel Hodge
Edited by Evan Glodell
Joel Hodge
Jonathan Keevil
Vincent Grashaw
Distributed by Oscilloscope Laboratories
Release dates
  • January 21, 2011 (2011-01-21) (Sundance)
Running time
103 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $17,000
Box office $168,226[2]

Bellflower is a 2011 American film written and directed by Evan Glodell. It was produced on a shoestring budget in Ventura, California,[3] and premiered in January 2011 at the Sundance Film Festival.[4] The film was nominated for the Independent Spirit John Cassavetes Award for best feature film made for under $500,000.[5][6]


The film tells the story of two young men, Woodrow and Aiden, who migrate to Los Angeles from Wisconsin. They both live in tiny, sordid dwellings in the suburb of L.A. called Bellflower, and spend their days constructing various weapons and testing them out in empty lots. They are drinking in a bar that hosts live acts, and when Woodrow volunteers to enter a cricket eating contest, he meets Milly, who beats him in the contest by eating more crickets. They are attracted to each other and at the end of the night they exchange phone numbers, while Aiden is talking to Milly's friend, Courtney.

The next day Woodrow and Milly decide that for their date they'll drive to Texas to eat at the scariest place Woodrow can think of, which Milly dares him to do. They drive Woodrow's old Volvo 262 coupé named "Speed Biscuit," which has a built in Whiskey tap system, to Texas where Woodrow gets in a fight with a local who disrespects Milly and is made sick by the day-old meatloaf. On their way back they trade the Volvo for a home-made motorcycle. Returning to California, they begin dating each other, despite Milly's ambiguously hostile roommate Mike.

When Woodrow returns, he finds Aiden has completed the flamethrower, and they successfully test it out. Aiden is impressed with the motorcycle, which is the second part of their three pronged plan to create a Medusa Gang which will reign over their imagined vision of an apocalyptic future, and now they only lack a flame blowing muscle car. Tensions between friends rise, however, when Woodrow and Milly begin to spend more time together than they do with their best friends, Aiden and Courtney.

After an indefinite amount of time Woodrow becomes more controlling and jealous of Milly, who is annoyed by his behavior. His instincts prove correct though, and he returns home early to find Milly having sex with Mike, her roommate, in Woodrow's bed. Woodrow and Mike scuffle, then Woodrow drives away on his motorcycle and is hit by a car before he gets more than 50 yards from his house. This leaves Woodrow with serious injuries, including brain damage, and when Aiden picks him up from the hospital he's utterly despondent about his circumstances, which he blames on Milly. Woodrow lies in bed for days, recovering and drinking whiskey, and when Courtney drops in on him to see how he is, they have sex despite the fact that Aiden clearly is interested in Courtney.

Aiden purchases a muscle car and works on turning it into the fire blowing Medusa during this time, while Woodrow continues to have sex with Courtney. Soon Mike comes to Woodrow's to retrieve Milly's personal items but Aiden intercepts him and tells him not to come around again or he'll kill him. Woodrow takes Milly's personal items, puts them in a box, walks them over to her apartment court with his flame thrower strapped to his back, and lights them on fire in front of her door. This inspires Mike to seek revenge, and he finds the Medusa muscle car in front of Woodrow's house and breaks a window with a baseball bat. Aiden stops him from creating further damage by wrestling the bat from him, and when Mike tries to get the bat back Aiden strikes him in the head. When Mike stops moving, Aiden runs. Milly finds out what's happened and ambushes Woodrow, knocking him unconscious, and she and an unknown man tattoo Woodrow's cheeks, chin and upper-lip.

Courtney confronts Milly about what she did to Woodrow and they fight, with Milly pulling a knife on her former best friend and forcing her to leave.

When Woodrow wakes up and sees himself in the mirror he flies into a rage, tracks Milly down and has a screaming confrontation with her. When he tells her that he's been thinking of doing some "sick shit" to her all morning, she replies that she doesn't care and submits to his anger. This ultimately results in sex that turns increasingly violent, ending with Milly screaming out in pain.

As Woodrow leaves Milly's house his shirt and hands are covered in blood, and he encounters Courtney in the street. She has a pistol and shoots herself in the head when he won't talk to her.

The film then back-tracks to when Woodrow has put Milly's things in a box, and gives an alternate series of events, much less apocalyptic, where Woodrow and Aiden merely light Milly's things on fire at the beach, and then subsequently leave town together, avoiding the tragedy that may or may not have happened. The film then flashes forward again to Woodrow in the street, where Milly has caught up with him and they hold each other as credits roll.


Reviewers noted the film's distinctive look,[7][8] giving credit to cinematographer Joel Hodge's shooting style and the one-of-a-kind camera designed and built by Evan Glodell, who combined vintage camera parts, bellows and Russian lenses[clarification needed], around a Silicon Imaging SI-2K Mini Digital Cinema camera.[9]

Hodge was nominated for the 2012 Independent Spirit Award for Best Cinematography, losing to the significantly bigger budget The Artist. The award was announced the day before The Artist won the Academy Award for Best Picture.[5][10] Eric Kohn of IndieWire criticized the inclusion of The Artist into awards that should recognize lesser known films, itemizing "innovative cinematographer" Hodge as one of the people harmed by the decision.[11] Screen Junkies also included both cinematographers among three it named Best Cinematographers for 2012.[12]


Glodell and crew were also inventive in the effects they used in the filming. Glodell constructed the flame thrower central to the theme, and modified the Medusa car. To get a propane tank explosion, live bullets were fired into the tank, narrowly missing engineer/editor Jon Keevil's head. It has been called one of the most dangerous film shoots in history.[13]


On January 27, 2011, six days after the premiere at Sundance, Oscilloscope Laboratories announced it had acquired English-language territory rights to the film. Bellflower was released in theaters August 5, 2011.[14]

In non-English-speaking territories, Visit Films is the international sales agent and distributor.[15]



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