All flesh is suitable when you're looking for a new home
dir: Joe Lynch
I don’t really know what I was expecting, but it probably wasn’t this.
Another example of why it’s bad to have expectations. You’ll always be disappointed if you expect something.
It’s probably better than I give it credit for, it’s just that, wow, it’s a clear reminder that I don’t get to see a lot of flicks like this these days, and, uh, with good reason.
Suitable Flesh is such a tasty title. It held out to me a promise of perhaps Cronenbergian body horror, or something malign and freaky like the early films of Stuart Gordon.
Eh, nothing so fancy or highfalutin as that. This would have gone straight to video back in the day, it has a surprising amount of sex scenes, and I think there was some saxophone playing during those scenes.
I guess the people in this flick don’t mind. They know what they’re in. This has the production values of something from the Hallmark or Lifetime Movie Channel, but with a better cast, to some extent, but very little money. The premise is slightly freaky, and it’s loosely based on a HP Lovecraft short story, but really it’s in the service of a mediocre plot and some fairly comical visuals.
But if you enjoy watching attractive people pretend to have sex, well, there’s plenty of that.
The movie opens in a body bag, the camera looking up at two people who’ve just unzipped it, slightly put out by what they’re seeing inside.
From there it’s a crazy person in a crazy person padded cell screaming “please believe me, the mangled corpse in the bodybag ain’t dead yet, you have to cut off its head!”.
So that’s the kind of flick we’re in, as the crazy person (Heather Graham) has to explain all the terrible things she’s accused of to a doctor friend of hers (Barbara Crampton), who clearly doesn’t believe this wacky tale of the sexy AND the supernatural.
So it turns out that the crazy person was, until recently, an acclaimed psychiatrist who specialised in people with multiple personality disorders. Dr Elizabeth Derby. Official and all. She has an office and listens to boring patients, like some guy that really doesn’t want to give up smoking.
But hark! Is that a frightened teenager barging into her office? He says his name is Asa (Judah Lewis), and that someone is trying to take over his body. Not, like have sex with him, but take actual control of him. And he even knows who it is – it’s his dad Ephraim (Bruce Davison). But wait, there’s a call on his mobile phone (from fifteen years ago).
After doing some weird fits and giggles stuff, Asa’s personality completely changes. He goes from a frightened boy to a sexually aggressive and mean-spirited man.
Dr Derby finds this fascinating, even when, after possessed Asa and the camera ogle her arse extensively, he sexually assaults her. She doesn’t believe any of this possession stuff, but is convinced she can get another book out of Asa. So against all sense and logic, she ends up travelling to an address that the frightened Asa gave her before he changed into...whatever he changed into.
A whole bunch of freaky shit happens, including have sex with your patients which is, outside of porn and horror films somewhat frowned upon, people getting their heads cut off, people swapping more bodies, this other person taking over Elizabeth and having sex with her husband.
And then a bunch more murders and far less sex towards the end, as we wonder if the good guys (Elizabeth and maybe her friend the other doctor) will win, and whether the other jerk, whatever the fuck he is, will get his comeuppance, probably after having sex with Heather Graham or her silver fox husband played by Johnathon Schaech.
Johnathon fucking Schaech. Don’t get me wrong, he is in phenomenal condition for a man his age, but holy jesus did I feel old seeing him in this. It’s not that Johnathon Schaech is a household name, or has been that successful (hence him being in this flick as the main character’s handbag of a husband. But he’s memorable to me, because I still remember seeing him for the first time in a flick called The Doom Generation way back in the early 90s, a Gregg Araki flick back when that meant something.
He played a hot young bisexual hustler, and it made a big impression on me, because he gave a memorable performance as a teenager who gave zero fucks about anything, including the gender of the people he was having sex with, or casual murder.
And now he’s an old man, so that must make me grandad to Methuselah.
He is in this, I shit you not, as eye candy (for potentially, I dunno, middle-aged women who are horror buffs?) I think the camera ogles him about as much as it ogles Heather Graham, which is plenty. Or on the other hand he’s just another person not able to believe Elizabeth’s wacky tale until it’s way too late for everyone involved.
The scares aren’t that great, the sex isn’t really that sexy, but there’s some fun performance-wise watching the actors play dual roles. Heather Graham clearly has way more fun playing the bodyswapped version of herself (and is way more convincing) than when she’s playing the ‘regular’ version of herself.
The villain, well, it’s not like what this entity does makes a whole lot of sense, including and beyond the annoying trait it indulges in by constantly explaining everything it’s planning on doing. But when people play the role of being taken over by the entity, well, they all seem to have way more fun with that.
It’s a very minor flick; it’s not going to be remembered by anyone expect the ghouls (like me) that try to watch all the “exclusive originals” that are put on to the horror streaming service Shudder (as if they were going to go anywhere else), and really, they’re not going to do much more than that.
Oh and it better not get a sequel. That would be lame.
5 times if you ever saw the 1990s flick Fallen with Denzel in the lead, you’ve already seen this flick, except with less soft focus boobies out of 10
“This is a magnificent body. It suits me” – well, no lies detected there - Suitable Flesh