Suitable Flesh (2023) [Tribeca 2023]

A young man with what seems to be multiple personalities shows up unexpectedly in a psychiatrist’s office triggering an obsession in her that leads her into a world of madness in this H.P. Lovecraft adaptation. 

Directed by Joe Lynch and written by Dennis Paoli from the work of H.P. Lovecraft, Suitable Flesh is one of those horror movies that grabs you from the start, plays with your mind a bit, and keeps your attention on the screen from start to finish. Its 1 hour and 40 minutes run time shows that a tight edit goes a long way in helping a film feel like it’s moving at a good pace, keep the story interesting, and help the viewer get into the film properly. The script here is strong and the directing is on point. As is now habitual from Lynch, the film has references to other films and pop culture peppered throughout, creating a sort of game to find all of them. This to say, this is a very “Joe Lynch” movie, it’s something that those who have followed his career will notice, a style, a way of doing things, an approach that is truly his and which he adapts to each film he does, something that is clear here.  

The cast for this one is fantastic. Horror fans will of course come for Barbara Crampton, who is great of course, but Heather Graham is the star here and she nails it from the start. Her performance is not only strong, but also unhinged at times and that is exactly what her character needed. The rest of the main cast is composed of Judah Lewis who is the perfect counterbalance to Graham’s performance, Johnathon Schaech who plays her husband and does great work of his few scenes, and Bruce Davison who steals a few scenes. The cast overall is great and shows what a true ensemble cast can do in horror. 

The film’s style and look here has a lot to do with the cinematography by David Matthews and the editing (unfortunately, no editor name is available at the moment) come together to bring a very specific look to the film, one that is nostalgic with a touch of current, it’s an interesting balance here where some scenes are purely out of old school horror while others are fairly modern looking. The film as a whole is shot and edited with precision, giving the viewer something not only pretty to look at, but also something with a bit more to it, a look of its own while being reminiscent of what came before.  

Suitable Flesh is a fun modernized H.P. Lovecraft adaptation that has director Lynch’s style all over it. It’s a fast-moving film that grabs the viewers’ attention and doesn’t let go until the credits roll. Heather Graham is simply amazing here, giving the right performance for each of her scenes, shining in a film filled with great performances. Overall, this nostalgia-filled, modern take on Lovecraft is becoming a festival darling for a few good reasons, reasons that need to be seen on as big of a screen as you can.