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Suitable Flesh Review

October 26, 2023 | Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz
Suitable Flesh Image Credit: AMP & Eyevox
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Suitable Flesh Review  

Suitable Flesh Review

Heather Graham– Elizabeth Derby
Judah Lewis– Asa Waite
Barbara Crampton– Daniella Upton
Bruce Davison– Ephraim Waite
Jonathan Schaech– Edward Derby

(check out the rest of the cast here)

Directed by Joe Lynch
Screenplay by Dennis Paoli, based on the story “The Thing on the Doorstep” by H.P. Lovecraft

Distributed by RLJE Films

Not Rated
Runtime– 100 minutes

Suitable Flesh will be available via Video on Demand and in select theaters starting October 27th, 2023

Image Credit: AMP and Eyevox

Suitable Flesh, directed by Joe Lynch and set to hit Video on Demand and select theaters starting October 27th, 2023, is a wicked dark comedy body horror flick based on/inspired by a story from H.P. Lovecraft. Featuring a top notch cast that includes modern horror icon Barbara Crampton, Suitable Flesh is a fantastic movie watching experience (it also may be director Joe Lynch’s best movie to date). Suitable Flesh is a movie horror movie nerds will be talking about for a long, long time (I don’t think it’s wrong to call it a modern classic).

Suitable Flesh stars Heather Graham as Dr. Elizabeth Derby, a psychiatrist who tries to help a young man (Asa, played by Judah Lewis) who believes someone is out to steal his body. At first, Dr. Derby believes that Asa is experiencing some sort of multiple personality disorder as he changes his attitude and demeanor in her presence during their initial meeting. She decides to help Asa, a poor college student (or so she believes), by waving her fee. But does Asa have MPD, or is something else going on with him? And what’s the deal with her sudden physical and mental attraction to him (after meeting Asa and seeing his personality shift she starts to fantasize about having sex with him, as we see her do when she’s actually having sex with her husband Edward, played by Jonathan Schaech)? Dr. Derby eventually finds herself going to Asa’s house to help him, where she meets his seemingly “just eccentric” father Ephraim Waite (a briefly seen but brilliant Bruce Davison) and thinks that Asa may be suffering some sort of abuse at the hands of his father. But there’s something else going on in the Waite house, something beyond Dr. Derby’s understanding, at least at first.

So what the heck is going on in the Waite house? Is Ephraim abusing his son Asa? And can Dr. Derby help Asa before it’s too late? I don’t want to say any more about the plot to Suitable Flesh as there are several nifty surprises that are best experienced fresh going in. If you’re familiar in any way with either the stories of H.P. Lovecraft or the many movies that have been inspired by those stories you will enjoy and totally accept the very strange and weird goings on in the Waite house as well as the things that Dr. Derby deals with as she tries to help Asa and figure out just what the heck is really going on. If you’re not familiar with anything Lovecraft the movie does a very good job giving you enough information to understand what’s going on. What happens and what’s really going on in Suitable Flesh isn’t necessarily anything we haven’t seen done before, but it is done in such a way that it will feel like something new. The final half hour of the movie is bonkers personified. In a lesser movie the ending would have annoyed me to no end (there’s a twist that we’ve all no doubt seen a million times before and my God when will the horror movie world stop with that ending?), but Suitable Flesh makes a considerable effort to make it seem like what happens is new and bizarre.

Most of the movie is an extended flashback, with Graham’s Dr. Derby providing the narration. It’s a strategy that mostly works (there are moments that Dr. Derby couldn’t have known about but it isn’t too glaring). The last quarter of the movie is a little clunky but it all works itself out in the end. There is a terrific action scene where we see Dr. Derby use a pickup truck as a weapon (we see the bloody results of her handiwork via the car’s back up camera screen). The movie also has copious amounts of blood and gore, which you expect from both a Lovecraft story and a Joe Lynch movie. There’s a nasty severed head (you will see that via the movie’s advertising campaign. Just go ahead and look it up on the internets, you’ll find it). There’s also a crumpled up human figure that may or may not be human that’s absolutely disgusting. The gunshot wounds are a bit restrained, which is unexpected.

The amount of sex in the movie is also unexpected, mostly because so few new/modern movies feature it in any significant way. It all fits in the story and isn’t exploitive, although I won’t be surprised if people complain about it (I also won’t be surprised if people complain about the lack of nudity in the movie. There is nudity in it, but I can already hear the cries of “why isn’t she naked when she has sex?” from the people that complain about that kind of thing).

Image Credit: AMP and Eyevox

The movie’s biggest asset is star Heather Graham. At first, you think the Elizabeth Derby character is just going to be the smart woman thrown into the weirdest goddamn situation ever in the entire world who then has to figure out how to overcome all of that weirdness, but as the story goes on Graham has to do more than that. Way more than that. And you can tell that she’s going for broke every single time she has to do something “out of character,” or “out of what we assume Elizabeth Derby’s character is.” Judah Lewis, as Asa, has to do something similar with his performance, but Graham’s is what holds the movie together and is the one you’re going to remember the most (Lewis does a great job as Asa). Graham will no doubt be receiving all sorts of awards recognition from the genre award people (the mainstream awards people aren’t cool enough to give Graham her due for this performance). Just amazing stuff.

Bruce Davison also does a phenomenal job as Ephraim Waite. Ephraim, at least at first, comes off as a rich asshole that gets to be a rich asshole because he’s rich (he would get to be called “eccentric” in polite society). But then you find out that there’s something going on with Ephraim that is related to the books that he has in his office and that Dr. Derby takes a quick look at. Davison isn’t in the movie all that long, but he makes the most out of his screen time and nails every scene that he’s in.

Jonathan Schaech is brilliantly clueless as Dr. Derby’s husband Edward. He has absolutely no idea what’s going on, and he has no idea how to find out what’s going on. Even when he notices a “change” in Elizabeth he just sort of goes with it and accepts it as opposed to finding out why the change happened in the first place. It will be interesting to see how people react to the big scene towards the end of the movie where Edward becomes aroused by something Elizabeth does to him in the heat of passion. Will people be creeped out by the whole thing or will they laugh at it? Will they do both? I thought the whole thing was hilarious, but I could see it being a big discussion topic in horror movie fandom.

And then there’s the great Barbara Crampton as Dr. Derby’s best friend in the whole world, and fellow doctor, Daniella Upton. She doesn’t have much to do at the beginning of the movie, but Crampton’s Dr. Upton figures into the story more as the movie progresses, especially the ending. Crampton has tremendous chemistry with Graham (you can tell they’re having the time of their lives together, or at least that’s the way it seems). I would love to see them together in something else.

And be on the lookout for director Lynch in a bit part as an orderly in an insane asylum. Lynch’s mustache is nothing short of epic (it isn’t Tom Selleck epic but epic nonetheless).

Suitable Flesh is a great dark comedy body horror movie. I can’t recommend it enough to the horror movie nerd world, or to the adventurous movie watcher out there (you know who you are). Heather Graham is so damn good in it. Everyone is good in it. You have to see Suitable Flesh. You just have to.

See Suitable Flesh. See it, see it, see it. Suitable Flesh is available via Video on Demand and in select theaters starting October 27th, 2023.

Image Credit: AMP and Eyevox

So what do we have here?

Dead bodies: 3

Explosions: None.

Nudity?: Yes.

Doobage: A body bag, psych ward hooey, flashback hooey, crumpled up paper throwing, a panicked potential patient, a flip phone, a freakout, wine drinking, a boring fish dinner, married couple sex with a mind fantasy, newspapers on the windows, multiple books, talk of someone surviving a stroke, a heart attack, and cancer, misogyny, cigarette rolling, a big knife, hand slicing, a strange book that somehow absorbs blood, some guy named Mr. Crowley, hypnotism, a clenched fist, an emergency call, big knife hooey, pill dropping, multiple weird body contortions, more sex, cigarette smoking, a hidden door in the floor, throat stabbing, a full on decapitation, burning curtains, coffee, attempted friend help, the cops, even more sex, sex in an open window, free falling, a shower, basement handcuffing, cracking hand bones, self-examination, booze drinking, attempted aggressive afternoon sex, underwear cutting, bathrobe tie choking, more the cops, a booze glass with three cigarette butts in it, more cigarette rolling, off screen sexual body cutting, an explanation, knife threatening, attempted hypnotism, knife to the forehead, a scuffle, serious vehicular assault, back up camera hooey, body stabbing, attempted autopsy, a crawling body that should be dead, apparent intestine removal, vagina grabbing, face licking, paddles, a fight, bullet to the head, and a big twist.

Kim Richards? None.

Gratuitous: Barbara Crampton, the Miskatonic Medical School in Arkham, Massachusetts, Joe Lynch, Heather Graham, Joe Lynch with a night stick, flashback hooey, a flip phone, cracking knuckles, Heather Graham’s butt, Jonathan Schaech, “How was your day, Eddie?,” a talking fish, sex, Bruce Davison, Bruce Davison rolling his own cigarettes, a light pen, hypnotism, Heather Graham telling a guy to make a fist, a big knife, pills, a glowing yellow eye, a graphic decapitation, Barbara Crampton drinking coffee and vaping in her office, a secret handshake, a Columbo reference, cunnilingus, Barbara Crampton sneaking a vape in her office, Heather Graham wearing a short bathrobe, Heather Graham’s feet, a swirling room, a booze glass with three cigarette butts in it, light, Heather Graham backing over someone with a pickup truck, an autopsy doctor eating a sandwich while doing the autopsy, and a big twist.

Best lines: “It’s impossible to tell that’s a person, much less who it is,” “Did they cremate the body? Is he dead? Is he really dead?,” “Beth, control yourself,” “Who, exactly, is he?,” “Did you forget something, professor?,” “He wants… my body,” “How are you feeling? Like shit,” “You know, you shouldn’t believe any young cunt when he talks crazy,” “Jesus Christ, sometimes I just hate the fucking modern world,” “Of course I care about him! He’s my son! He’s my salvation!,” “He wants my body!,” “Help me, not him!,” “How long does the brain live after the body dies?,” “I thought he was dead. Oh, he’s dead all right,” “This is a magnificent body. It suits me. It suits me well,” “Yes, I want your body. Very, very much,” “Well, then I guess, then, if anybody ever tells you to go fuck yourself you can tell them you have,” “Too much?,” “So I should call the police? And tell them what? That a young male patient you slept with murdered the reanimated corpse of his father?,” “He definitely peeked,” “We had… sex,” “I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed the use of your body. You’d be surprised. It was unlike anything I have ever experienced,” “Shit. I’m married,” “You know, if I don’t know who you are how the fuck would I know your phone number?,” “This was a sex game?,” “I just want you to know I’ve never cummed like that before. Ever,” “And who doesn’t love a good mind fuck?,” “Okay, how’s about this? You can live if you can kill me. I mean really kill me. Before I become you forever,” “Time is just a shadow to me,” “You’re a fucking mess,” “it’s not dead! It’s not dead! It’s not dead!,” “What the fuck?,” “I’ll suck your cock if you let me out,” “Well, all my friends are in hell. So, you’ll have good company!,” “Damn padded cell,” and “When I’m dead let me stay dead.”

The final score: review Amazing
The 411
Suitable Flesh, directed by Joe Lynch, is a wicked dark comedy body horror flick based on/inspired by a story from H.P. Lovecraft. Featuring a top notch cast that includes Heather Graham and modern horror icon Barbara Crampton, Suitable Flesh is a fantastic movie watching experience (it also may be director Joe Lynch’s best movie to date). Suitable Flesh is a movie horror movie nerds will be talking about for a long, long time (I don’t think it’s wrong to call it a modern classic). You should see it as fresh as possible so the big twists and turns of the story are a surprise (I think it’s best to experience it that way). I loved this movie, and you just need to see it. So see it. See it now. Suitable Flesh is available via Video on Demand and in select movie theaters starting October 27th, 2023.