Little Shop of Horrors

Little Shop of Horrors is truly a unique experience. Part B-horror, part comedy, and part musical, the film is incredibly original and heedlessly fun. It's films like these that make me wonder what people see in the gritty and cold films that have become so popular in the past decade. Take, for example, the latest film adaption of Robin Hood. I'm in no way comparing these two films, but the difference in tone between the two shines light on how the typical film audience has lost its sense of light-hearted fun. Where Little Shop of Horrors is a charming romp with some darker elements, Robin Hood is coldly-calculating and all-serious (despite the fact that it's about a green-clad archer stealing from the rich). I'm not saying that *all* films need comic relief, but this relief's absence in modern film is very depressing.

Moving on from that tangent, Little Shop of Horrors follows the geeky and socially awkward Seymour, a young assistant in a florist shop, as he tries to get by in the skid rows of New York. Nothing seems to be going right for Seymour - his secret crush, Audrey, is dating an abusive dentist, the florist shop is close to permanently closing, and his surroundings are absolutely depressing and soul-crushing. On the day of an unexpected total eclipse, however, Seymour discovers a bizarre plant that remotely resembles a Venus flytrap. In a last-ditch effort to save the store, the exotic plant - now named Audrey II in honor of Seymour's crush - is displayed at the store's front window. Almost instantaneously, business begins to boom as people come to see this strange new plant. Just when things are looking up, however, Seymour accidentally discovers that human blood is the only way to satisfy Audrey II. What follows is a tongue-in-cheek narrative, blending together dark comedy with homages to 1960's culture and B-horror movies.

Charm and style are exactly what Little Shop of Horrors is going for, and the film's abundant with these elements. The characters are all well-written and distinctly interesting, and you'll find that no two characters are ever alike. Whether we're spending time with the shy Seymour, the sadistic dentist Orin, or the sinister Audrey II, it's easy to see how great these characters and performances are. For instance, who knew that Rick Moranis, playing the role of Seymour, could sing so well? The emotion in his voice is just striking, and his solo during the song "Skid Row" especially showcases his talent.

Speaking of songs, the music in the film is just as catchy as it is well-written. The influences from the popular music of the '50's and '60's is evident, with all of the songs either being Broadway-esque, jazzy, or bluesy. It adds to the layers of charm in the film, pulling the audience into an atmosphere that feels silly despite the darkness of the songs. With plenty of toe-tappers and sentimental ballads, Little Shop of Horrors proves to be just as fun to watch as it is to listen to.

The style of the visuals look absolutely fantastic. The camerawork's great and the sets, all of which give a dark and dilapidated look, mix well with the silliness of the songs and create an especially interesting atmosphere.

Unfortunately, the film isn't without fault. I found that, despite the interesting subject matter, the film felt rather stale during parts of the second act. It doesn't get terribly bad, but the moments between the dentist's "murder" and "Suddenly Seymour" could have been a bit better. Also, the ending to the film leans toward being unsatisfactory. The 'final battle' feels anticlimactic, going by far too quickly, and the ending's optimism felt mismatched with the tone of the film. I'm not saying the original musical's ending is any better, as it's on the opposite end of the spectrum by being too pessimistic, but the ending left something to be desired. I will admit, however, that the sublime sweetness of that scene successfully pulled at my heartstrings.

Clever, stylish, and charming, Little Shop of Horrors is a horror/comedy/musical that's just as creative as it is entertaining.





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