Suitable Flesh is an American horror movie directed by Joe Lynch and written by Dennis Paoli. The movie is based on “The Thing on the Doorstep”, a 1933 short story from the maestro of cosmic horror, H.P. Lovecraft. The movie stars Heather Graham, Barbara Crampton and Judah Lewis. Horror film fans would recognise Paoli from his work with the late director Stuart Gordon and on films like Re-Animator and From Beyond.
S P O I L E R S
A psychiatrist becomes obsessed with one of her young patients, who she later discovers is linked to an ancient curse.
There is much to recommend this movie with, especially if you enjoy Lovecraftian fare. The story is deceptively simple, without having to do a deep dive on exposition. From a padded cell in a mental asylum, psychiatrist Dr. Beth Derby tells her colleague and friend Dr. Dani Upton, her terrifying tale. The source of her terror – an ancient psychic entity that passes from one human being to another, transferring its consciousness for one victim to another against their will. Her initial encounter with young Asa Waite sets the horrific events in motion, and ultimately both Derby and Upton are powerless to resist. Graham, Lewis and Crampton keep the movie grounded despite its fantastical underpinnings, with solid performances throughout.
Now, quite a bit of this movie comes across like those 1980s horror flicks mentioned above, which suggests oversized dramatics, cheesy film scores and a sometimes incongruous tongue-in-cheek quality. This may be intentional, meant to be a homage to the late Gordon and his films. Whatever the motivation, some viewers may be put off by this feature, especially during the sex scenes. While integral to the film, in order to express the wanton desires and seductive nature of the entity, again, those scenes are not for everyone. So be warned.
Suitable Flesh is a delicious modern take of Lovecraft’s short story. Highly recommended!
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