Suitable Flesh movie review & film summary (2023)

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What she’s done—and it’s pretty gnarly—seems an inexcusable crime, but according to Elizabeth, it she had no choice. Her story begins with standard issue “I had it all” nostalgia and Beth recounts her successful practice and happy marriage, all of which is thrown into disarray by the entrance of sexy young ‘un Asa (Judah Lewis), whose arrogance alternates with vulnerability and whose plight worms its way into Beth’s head while visions of him overtaking her sexually show up supposedly unwelcome during her lovemaking sessions.

The plot thickens when Beth visits Asa’s ancestral home and meets the kid’s physically weak but incredibly snide father Ephraim (Bruce Davison), who cherishes a volume of ancient lore that’s filled with the kind of grotesque drawing you see in movies that have “Necronomicon” in the title. Presumably using this volume as a guide, somebody—Asa? Ephraim? A malefactor predating the both of them?—is soul-hopping from body to body. And Beth is their next victim.

The subsequent hijinks don’t stint on either psychosexual perversity or gnarly violence and blood spilling. Heather Graham relishes playing her multiple personalities. When Beth is first taken over by the clearly cis-het-male spirit—who’s able to do the trick over a cell phone line, apparently—his/her relish at exploring his/her female body is made practically palpable by Graham’s gyrations. Describing the joys of soul teleportation, one iteration of Asa asks Beth “Did anyone ever ask you to go fuck yourself?” and then chortles over the power to kinda-sorta do just that. And so the movie goes to the limits of the body-swapping shenanigans treated much more lightly in films like “Freaky Friday,” and doubles down on the horndog biz offered in Gordon/Crampton’s “From Beyond.”

The vibe here isn’t just Lovecraft and Gordon, it’s Charles Band as well. That is, writer/director Joe Lynch clearly worked under B-movie budget conditions, revealed in elements like the lighting that accentuates the set-bound nature of much of the film (for instance the blue of the window in Elizabeth’s office). Lynch is an inventive enough filmmaker to make this more a feature than a bug. And if by the end you’re having trouble keeping up with whose body is whose, that too is entirely deliberate, as is the movie’s disinclination to settle into a definitive view of what the reality of its entire story is. Just go with it is the best course; the head of horror froth this movie whips up is its own reward.



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