Tribeca 2023: Suitable Flesh, You’ll Never Find Me, Bad Things | Festivals & Awards
Movie Reviews

Tribeca 2023: Suitable Flesh, You’ll Never Find Me, Bad Things | Festivals & Awards

Elizabeth Derby (Graham) was a successful psychiatrist before her life was torn apart by the arrival of a troubled young man named Asa (Judah Lewis). Now Elizabeth is in a psych ward, accused of murdering the young man. She tells a friend and colleague, played by the wonderful Crampton, about how she got there, and it’s quite a story, one that involves possession and obsession in equal measure. Paoli uses Lovecraft’s famous short The Thing on the Doorstep as a very loose source for “Suitable Flesh,” taking that tale’s subject of a force that can use a body as a shell to craft a new tale.

With a relatively limited cast and number of locations, Lynch has to get the most out of his cast, and Graham is tasked with the majority of the out-there behavior. She ably sells the different versions of Elizabeth—the real one and the one possessed by an ancient force—with a sly smile, and it’s nice to see her get a part this meaty again. 

Lewis is a little less effective in that he struggles to sell some of the mischievous charm needed for the role at times, but Crampton makes up for it by killing her part. And the real charm of “Suitable Flesh” is the final act, when everything gets wild in a way that anyone who has seen a Dennis Paoli movie should expect. Having said that, I wanted even more chaos—a great earlier scene involving a beheading is such a great “Re-Animator” callback that it sets the expectation for more of that kind of lunacy—instead of a reliance on repeating a few elements of the first hour of the film. Still, this will be a fun one to see with a crowd. It premiered in a portion of the program called “Escape from Tribeca,” which reportedly features films “that make audiences stomp their feet and shout out loud.” I’m pretty sure they did for “Suitable Flesh.” 

There’s significantly less stomping demanded by a film like Indianna Bell & Josiah Allen’s two-hander “You’ll Never Find Me,” but that’s OK. This kind of atmospheric horror film naturally appeals to me, confining its two characters in a single setting and then bouncing them off each other and the audience. It’s got the sensibility of an Edgar Allen Poe short, the tale of a knock at the door in the middle of a stormy night, and how everything unravels from there. Or does it? Shifting loyalties and suspicions through its relatively short runtime, this is an accomplished little indie that I hope finds an audience out of Tribeca. It would kill on Shudder.

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