Blood Flower is gory Malaysian possession horror

Blood Flower - Courtesy Shudder
Blood Flower - Courtesy Shudder /

The first Shudder original from Malaysia, Blood Flower premiered at Fantastic Fest 2022 and is full of Malaysian folklore and Islamic beliefs.   While the movie may be formulaic horror in Southeast Asia,  it is a nice change from the usual Catholic exorcism film for Western audiences,.  The movie is NOT for the faint of heart, as some of the imagery is truly disturbing, so I’m putting a big TRIGGER WARNING on Blood Flower, but if you’ve got a strong stomach and some thick skin, follow me into the greenhouse!

The Blood Flower makes for an impressive centerpiece in this greenhouse of horrors.

Blood Flower revolves around Iqbal, who is genetically imbued on his mother’s side with the power of exorcism and healing.  These powers are considered a gift from Allah, although after losing his mother during an exorcisms, Iqbal views them as a curse and asks to have his powers bound.  In the wake of this family tragedy, Iqbal’s father Norman is hired by a Jamil, a wealthy neighbor, to care for his greenhouse full of strange and dangerous flowers while he travels to Sumatra to seek more flora for his collection. The centerpiece of Jamil’s menagerie is the giant corpse flower, or Titan Arum, that he carried from Sumatra himself and only blooms once every seven years.

Of course Iqbal steals the keys to the greenhouse and takes his friends and younger sister inside.  Boys being the way they are, when they encounter a door with multiple locks and a sigil taped to it, they try to get inside.  When none of the keys work, they frustratedly rip the sigil off the door which then swings open of its own accord, releasing an entity that will be responsible for a lot of bloodshed before it is done.

Iqbal and the child actors of Bloor Flower
Blood Flower – Courtesy Shudder /

Blood Flower doesn’t skimp on the scares.

The paranormal activity in Blood Flower starts in the first scene and doesn’t let up.  In fact, there are so many scares and so much gore, the viewer almost becomes desensitized.  As disturbing and gory as it gets though, it isn’t just gore for the sake of gross out moments.  This demon, or spirit, has a story to tell.  There is a dark secret lurking in this apartment building that is the link between all the characters, and this entity is getting vengeance for whatever it was that occurred.  There is a mystery here, and the things Iqbal is experiencing (becoming so frequent as to make him unsure of what is real and what are visions) are the puzzle pieces.

Possessed girl in Blood Flower
Blood Flower – Courtesy Shudder /

Sometimes the effects seem a little cheap, and some of the acting isn’t great, but the kids, particularly the leads, are excellent.  So often, horror movies suffer from bad endings because the writer just didn’t know how to wrap things up.  This is not the case with Blood Flower as the ending finally brings all the pieces of the puzzle together in an exciting and suspenseful final sequence.  It always feels like the stakes are higher when children are involved, and from the beginning of the film, we learn that this demon kills indiscriminately so everyone is fair game.  And the grisly greenhouse provides a disturbing and unique setting with a distinct red color palette.

Currently streaming on Shudder, Blood Flower is a solid offering from Malaysian director Dain Said, but don’t say I didn’t give you that trigger warning!

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