Suitable Flesh

Suitable Flesh
Original title:Suitable Flesh
Director:Joe Lynch
Running time:99 minutes
Release date:27 october 2023
A psychiatrist becomes obsessed with one of her young patients, whom she later discovers is linked to an ancient curse.

Mulder's Review

Suitable Flesh, a new horror film directed by Joe Lynch and written by Dennis Paoli, is a fascinating blend of horror, comedy, and cosmic terror. It draws inspiration from the works of H.P. Lovecraft, a renowned author known for his cosmic horror themes. Lovecraft's stories often revolve around the insignificance of humanity in the face of an uncaring universe, and they frequently incorporate elements of the supernatural and the unknown. Suitable Flesh embraces Lovecraft's themes while infusing them with humor and a unique twist.

The film pays homage to the late Stuart Gordon, a legendary director in the horror genre, known for films like Re-Animator, From Beyond, and Dagon. Gordon was known for injecting humor into Lovecraftian horror, and Joe Lynch, along with screenwriter Dennis Paoli, continues this tradition in Suitable Flesh.

The story follows Dr. Elizabeth Derby, played by Heather Graham, a psychiatrist who becomes entangled in a bizarre and otherworldly series of events. Her patient, Asa (Judah Lewis), claims that his father, Ephraim (Bruce Davison), is attempting to take over his body. Asa's frantic attempts to explain his situation are initially dismissed as symptoms of mental illness, and Elizabeth attributes his behavior to dissociative identity disorder. However, as the story unfolds, it becomes clear that supernatural forces are at play.

What sets Suitable Flesh apart is its tonal shifts and its ability to combine elements of psychological thriller, erotic thriller, body-snatcher horror, and cosmic mystery. The film takes the viewer on a rollercoaster ride, alternating between moments of suspense, absurdity, and outright gore. At first, it may be easy to dismiss the film as cheesy or cheaply made, but patience is rewarded as it gradually reveals its true intentions.

Heather Graham's performance as Dr. Elizabeth Derby is a highlight of the film. She portrays a psychiatrist grappling with the inexplicable, and her character's journey from skepticism to acceptance is both compelling and at times darkly humorous. The film also explores the medical profession's tendency to pathologize unusual experiences and its reluctance to accept the supernatural.

The narrative structure of Suitable Flesh is multi-layered, with flashbacks and multiple timelines that add depth to the story. As the plot unfolds, it becomes a cat-and-mouse game between Elizabeth and the malevolent Ephraim, who possesses occult powers that allow him to switch bodies. The film is a suspenseful and unpredictable journey, with moments of shocking violence and grotesque body horror.

Despite its tonal shifts and occasional inconsistency, Suitable Flesh succeeds in paying homage to Lovecraft's cosmic horror while infusing it with humor and a unique blend of genres. It is a celebration of Stuart Gordon's legacy in the horror-comedy genre, and it stands as a testament to the enduring appeal of Lovecraft's work.

The film's special effects and visual style are reminiscent of Gordon's films, though they may not reach the same level of artistry. However, the film compensates with its strong performances and its ability to capture the essence of Lovecraft's stories while adding a touch of irreverence. The gore and violence in the film are not for the faint of heart, but they serve the purpose of highlighting the absurdity and horror of the situation.

Suitable Flesh is an enjoyable movie that offers a unique blend of horror and humor. It may not be a perfect film, and its tonal shifts can be jarring, but it ultimately delivers a memorable and entertaining experience. Whether you're a fan of Lovecraft, Stuart Gordon, or horror-comedy in general, this film is worth a watch. It's a wild and irreverent ride that embraces the spirit of its influences while adding its own spin to the genre.

Suitable Flesh
Directed by Joe Lynch
Written by Dennis Paoli
Based on The Thing on the Doorstepby H. P. Lovecraft
Produced by Barbara Crampton, Bob Portal, Inderpal Singh, Joe Wicker
Starring  Heather Graham, Judah Lewis, Bruce Davison, Johnathon Schaech, Barbara Crampton
Cinematography : David Matthews
Edited by Jack N. Gracie
Music by Steve Moore
Production companies : Alliance Media Partners, Eyevox Entertainment
Distributed by RLJE Films, Shudder
Release dates : June 11, 2023 (Tribeca), October 27, 2023 (United States)
Running time : 99 minutes

Vu le 20 octobre 2023 (press screener)

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