Joe Lynch’s newest work is most definitely a strange one, but it’s better all the more for it. There are a lot of interesting choices with this horror comedy that nearly borders on preposterous but is somehow reined in enough that it somehow makes sense.

Or, at the very least, it curates a sense of enjoyment.

Psychiatrist Elizabeth Derby becomes engrossed in a specific young patient, Asa (Judah Lewis) exhibiting extreme personality disorder. His distress draws her in and she becomes invested, sharing her concern with his father Ephraim (Bruce Davison) who Asa believes is after possession of his body. 

What begins as professional curiosity and concern quickly transforms into an obsession and soon, a complete overtaking. This new patient has some secrets and they are about to take over her world. As there is an entity that passes between people, it always needs a host. And Elizabeth seems ready for the taking. Her curiosity and attraction to the unexplainable bring her head to head with evil. 

Fleshy Suit

There’s also her husband, Eddie (Johnathon Schaech) who’s relationship undoubtedly suffers. His part is unfortunately one of the lesser fleshed-out ones. Some of their scenes don’t quite make it past the uncomfortable dialogue and just feel stale. The plot itself doesn’t have much weight to it. In many ways, this is more a vestibule for Lynch to explore than it is a cohesive narrative. While that might detract in some films, it doesn’t matter here. 

source: RLJE Films

The narrative is told through Elizabeth, who starts the film hospitalized, sharing her story with Dr. Dani Upton (Crampton), a former colleague.

Suitable Flesh drips with self-awareness. There’s a lack of subtly that is admirable and this body horror-gore fest that lives within a psychological realm is anything but boring. If the film wasn’t making me laugh or causing me to cringe, it kept me glued with its throwback style.

It has a sinister bite, a greedy appetite content in its… flesh. There’s an interesting tone throughout that dances on a sneer. Heather Graham is just having a blast, and I’m all for it. 

There’s a careful balance between the occult and psychological distress and Graham skirts both in full form. It makes me yearn for more of the like with her at the center.

There’s a plot incorporating body swapping, with pulpy moments of gore and sexuality. The scenes with Crampton and Graham are where the film shines. This grotesquely formed Suitable Flesh delights in its VHS-like appeal, reveling in the dirty and gory, ensuring that each scene is more over the top than the last.

source: RLJE Films

The film has an 80s movie appeal which is further appreciated by the presence of legend Barbara Crampton. But it also hones a 90s eroticism that Graham embodies. It is certainly a bizarre, horny amalgamation. 

It follows a pattern of a character attempting to psychologically understand something that’s beyond comprehension, beyond human. And eventually, they become this evil that they’re fascinated with. 

There’s an atmosphere that sticks, soaking through each bloodied scene. And a killer final act that packs a lasting visceral punch. But is it enough? This critic fell under the spell of Suitable Flesh and I admire the gall, but I can also understand this not clicking with some audiences. 

Conclusion: Suitable Flesh

Suitable Flesh is full-on camp, revving the film up to a ten early on and never letting go. There are some gnarly sequences and an erotic thriller somewhere in there, making it feel like it’s suffering from a personality disorder itself. And I’m all for it. 

It’s wild. It’s weird. Joe Lynch has crafted one hell of a Lovecraftian thrill ride.

Have you seen Suitable Flesh? What did you think? Let us know in the comments below!

Suitable Flesh was released in theaters on October 27th, 2023!

Does content like this matter to you?

Become a Member and support film journalism. Unlock access to all of Film Inquiry`s great articles. Join a community of like-minded readers who are passionate about cinema – get access to our private members Network, give back to independent filmmakers, and more.

Join now!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.