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Marina Antunes [Film Festival 12.07.09] Canada movie review musical horror comedy vampires

Year: 2009
Director: Rob Stefaniuk
Writer: Rob Stefaniuk
IMDB: link
Trailer: link
Review by: Marina Antunes
Rating: 8 out of 10

The first time I heard the name Rob Stefaniuk was in conjunction with Phil the Alien, a little Canadian film which was described as “seriously bent.” Anyone familiar with that project may think they know what to expect with Stefaniuk’s directorial follow-up and though they may be prepared for the zaniness, they’re probably not ready for the sheer awesomeness of Suck.

Written, directed and starring Stefaniuk, it’s the story of a band trying to make it in the hard knock music industry. They’re sound isn’t bad but The Winners, led by Joey (Stefaniuk) are playing dives and going no where fast. So fast in fact that they’re manager (Dave Foley thankfully wearing pants for his entire appearance in this film) is asking to be relieved of his duties so that he can manage some up and coming Japanese pop stars. Now completely alone, the band is heading to their next gig when their bass player Jennifer (Jessica Paré) is lured away by a creepy looking dude only to return the next morning not feeling quite like herself. So starts the rise (or downfall) of The Winners from obscurity to superstars.

A film made up of so many genres it’s pointless to name them all, it’s safe to say Suck is a entirely new beast. Though it’s essentially a satire on the music industry, it’s also a road trip film, a musical and a wacky vampire tale and though each of these aspects work their own magic on the story, this isn’t a film about storyline and plotting but rather an adventure through genre bashing. The vampires are over the top, cliché ridden monsters with faces pale only to the neck, teeth which look like bad off-the-shelf inserts and outlandish costumes, the music is a mix of cheesy indie pop songs and 80s glam rock and the killing is schlocky b-movie grade but it all makes for a winning combination. Don’t’ start thinking that Suck is one of these “so bad it’s good” movies; on the contrary the cheesy, over the top stuff is what makes it so enjoyable. Rather than trying to and failing at scary, Stefaniuk opted to play up the cheese and worked it to the film’s advantage.

It’s not all cheese. The music is genuinely good as are the performances. Stefaniuk leads the charge as the geeky band lead while the gorgeous Jessica Paré struts her stuff as the ubber sexy bassist while and Paul Anthony lathers on the wit. Aside from the band there’s also Malcolm McDowell hamming it up as the vampire hunter Eddie Van Helsing (complete with incorporation of an old McDowell performance as a flashback sequence) and a list of guest appearances longer than Gene Simmons’s tongue. There’s Alice Cooper as a bartender with all of the answers, Iggy Pop as a retired musician, Moby as the leader of a band that is pelted with meat at their shows, Carole Pope as a bouncer, Henry Rollins as a DJ and likely a load of others I didn’t recognize. What’s best about these appearances is that they’re not frivolous and though there are a lot of them, they work within the film and don’t feel forced in for the sake of it.

There’s so much to love about Stefaniuk’s film from the map animation to the performances that it’s easy to forget that some of the jokes and gags don’t completely work or that others feel like they could have used a little more work to take them from giggles to gut holding laughter. There’s so much fun to be had with what does work that these little misses are easily overlooked.

In today’s vampire rich media, it’s nice to see a tale that doesn’t take itself too seriously and which isn’t afraid to play with the concepts we’ve come to both love and hate. Suck is great fun, a film that entertains from beginning to end and which left me wanting for more.

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Shannon the Movie Moxie (12 years ago) Reply

Thrilled to hear that this one hits the mark! I missed it at TIFF but really hope it makes the regular rounds. Music + vamps + satire sounds like fun to me!


Chad N. (12 years ago) Reply

Glad to hear that it's good! The trailer seemed a bit iffy. Looks like a great cast, and I love that poster!


mrBOB (11 years ago) Reply

You can find "suck" in the instant streaming content. This movies is not one to miss, seriously. Try the first 15 minutes and you'll be hooked.

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