Monday, June 12, 2023

Suitable Flesh (2023) Tribeca 2023

A dark short story is opened up and lightened up director Joe Lynch and his cast who throw a good amount of humor into the bloody/sexy proceedings. SUITABLE FLESH is HP Lovecraft's The Thing On The Doorstep getting a modern updating in a film that is striving to be a homage to the Lovecraft films of Stuart Gordon turning our mixed results.

The plot finds heather Graham's psychiatrist locked away in  the mental hospital. She has killed a patient, who she insists has to be cremated or else will come back. 

How the great performances, super effects and  chilling moments hit you are going to be determined by your reaction to the injection of humor into the proceedings. Striving to be a homage to REANIMATOR and FROM BEYOND, films which had a sly sense of jokiness, the filmmakers have brightened the colors and amped up the humor putting it more front and center. The result is a film that is often camp and at others similar to the fast talking comedies of Howard Hawks.

It really didn't work for me.

The film lost me early as we first saw Heather Graham locked up and she has an exchange with Barbra Crampton  that was clipped and rapid fire similar to the exchanges between the say Rosalind Russell and Cary Grant in HIS GIRL FRIDAY or Grant and Hepburn in BRINGING UP BABY. It's brilliantly done, and makes me want to see the cast in a comedy, but it was something that didn't bode well for the rest of the "horror" film. For me the rapid fire delivery was an indication that the filmmakers weren't interested in telling a story so much as simply getting to certain parts.  It was as if they were blowing through the exposition just to get to the good stuff. (Exposition? We don't need it.) This didn't seem to me to be Ken Russell reframing Paddy Chayesfky's dialog in ALTERED STATES so people spoke as they do in real life, over each other and with mouths full of food, but instead not wanting to bother about setting the story up and instead just going. Things are not set up properly.

Later sequences didn't work for me either as flashy turns like spinning cameras and odd angles are inserted not because they are needed but because they will get noticed in a gee whiz, look at that sort of way. 

Yes it's campy, and vaguely fun, but it's a forced sort of camp that you can smile at and say "that's cute" but it isn't something  you come back too. 

To be certain the film is well done, but I didn't like the mixing of genres, I prefer my HP Lovecraft humor closer to REANIMATOR than KILLER CLOWNS FROM OUTER SPACE.

No comments:

Post a Comment