Suitable Flesh (2023)

Director: Joe Lynch

Running Time: 99 Minutes

Certification: 18

Starring: Heather Graham, Judah Lewis, Bruce Davison, Johnathon Schaech, Barbara Crampton

Director Joe Lynch opens his latest work in a tantalizing manner, as the body of an unknown person comes into the morgue and leaves Dr. Daniella Upton (Barbara Crampton) clearly shaken. She comments on how the now unrecognizable body was once beautiful before leaving to visit a patient at the psychiatric hospital. Within a padded cell, Elizabeth Derby (Heather Graham) warns that the body remains a danger if the brain is not destroyed. In an effort to make her friend understand, Elizabeth recounts this strange tale which upended her life.

Living an idyllic life with her husband Eddie (Johnathon Schaech), Elizabeth is a psychiatrist who believes that she is in control as she is never troubled by her patients. That changes when she meets Asa Waite (Judah Lewis), a new patient that she becomes obsessed with. Based on H. P. Lovecraft's The Thing on the Doorstep, this project was originally developed in the '90s by screenwriter Dennis Paoli and the late director Stuart Gordon. Despite numerous attempts to revive the work, this was one Lovecraftian project that never escaped development hell.

Enter Joe Lynch, who gives life to the project as a spiritual successor to Gordon's previous Lovecraft adaptations made with Crampton and Paoli - 1985's Re-Animator, and 1986's From Beyond. While it is a love-letter to the deceased director, that is not all the film is, as Lynch stylishly brings this work alive. By weaving together a terrific sense of humour, tremendous transitions, and an effortlessly cool use of a rear-view camera, Lynch showcases a brilliant flair for directing this tale of the spirit persevering past bodily fragility.

The outlandish work offers a fantastic showcase for the talented cast, as they adapt to the unfolding madness while capturing their character's many sides. Be it Bruce Davison's frank father or Crampton's reliable presence, the cast phenomenally delivers. Key to it all are the exceptional performances of Graham and Lewis, who find themselves delving into each-others lives while flitting between conveying terror and relishing in confidence. It all makes up a horny and gruesome body-swapping blast that may as well be called Freaky Fucking Friday.

Suitable Flesh is available in cinemas and on Digital Download now