Suitable Flesh


In 1997 Heather Graham made quite an impact in Paul Thomas Anderson’s Boogie Nights as Roller Girl. She quickly followed it up playing Felicity Shagwell in the comedy hit Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me.

She looked set to become a major star yet it just didn’t quite happen.

Here she stars in a horror that’s based on H.P. Lovecraft’s 1937 story The Thing on the Doorstep.

boom reviews Suitable Flesh
Oh what's that you say? A 5 star performance from me...

Seeing a patient in her room is Dr. Elizabeth Derby (Graham). She is a psychiatrist trying to get to the root of her patient’s problems. When they leave she is confronted by a frightened young man. His name is Asa (Judah Lewis), and he is showing signs of a split personality, which instantly fascinates Elizabeth. So much so that she gives him her number and tells him that she’ll treat him for free.

Little does she realise that there’s more to Asa than meets the eye, and before she even knows it, he’s going to get well and truly in her head.

boom reviews Suitable Flesh
Now there's the steeple, but where are the people?!

Although it may suggest it’s based on one of H.P. Lovecraft’s tales, you can imagine it’s pretty loosely. However much of the original story it is based on, is merely a skeleton of an idea to wrap a preposterous premise of a film around.

Make no mistake about it, this is more soft porn than hardcore horror.

But it’s done so in such a knowing fashion – you would have to believe it is knowing, as surely a film couldn’t really be this bad without someone noticing – that it’s almost entertaining. If you were generous you could see it as a homage to those porn-lite horrors from the house of Hammer in the seventies, when there was often an excuse to have young ladies naked.

There’s also a whiff of being neo noir about it, as Graham’s character recalls events in a flashback with a voice-over, as if Double Indemnity , or some other gritty noir thriller, was tapping on its shoulder.

There can only be one reason why Graham would have been attracted to the role, and that would be the duality of it, as the film transcends into a rather silly body-swap flick. But the truth is, she is better than this. Or at least she was.

As long as you don’t take it seriously, which there’s no way that you could, it does have a b-movie charm about it, but it doesn’t detract from how woefully bad it is. You would like to think that it’s director Joe Lynch is delivering some kind of parody, but in all truth, it’s difficult to say, especially with his previous work that struggles to impress.

It’s utter nonsense, that is best accompanied by a fair amount of alcohol to get you through it, as it’s probably not a good idea to experience it in any way sober.

And as for Graham, it’s sad that her career, that had such potential, has come to this. What she really needs is a role in a credible HBO/MAX/Apple+/Netflix style drama, to resuscitate her acting profession, because if she was expecting this drivel to do it, then it must definitely be declared D.O.A.

we give this two out of five