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|Index||14 reviews in total|
I had the privilege to view this film at the Bruce Campbell's Horror
Fest at the Chicago Wizard Con last night and was thoroughly impressed.
I was expecting a low budget, poorly acted schlock fest like most
independent horror comedies but Suburban Gothic was delightfully
charming and fun.
It's low budget doesn't affect the great atmosphere of a creepy yet quirky guy trying to survive his own personal suburban hell. Between the sharp, witty dialogue , the creepy, charming characters, and atmospheric tone it feels like I imagine what James Gunn and Tim Burton would have created if they had to do a collaboration for film school together.
The writing was spot on and never before had I seen such great directing and acting in an independent horror comedy since Sam Raimi's early work. Richard Bates Jr. Is a brilliant up and coming writer/director and I anxiously await his future projects. One thing that was refreshing was the fact it didn't rely on gore or nudity to catch interest and If not for the adult dialogue it would be rather family friendly for a horror film.
The best way to sum up this film is that it's just plain fun!
More of a cultural study about being a millennial than an actual movie. Kat Denning has a lot of tattoos, the male lead - Matthew Gray Gubler (maybe change that for Hollywood, dude) is unemployed, lives with his parents and is looking for his "purpose" and a few mumbled jokes are passed around. The plot, such as it is, deals with a fairly routine ghost story that our digital native heroes must release from torment by solving a mystery. In other words, if you have seen an episode of Scooby Doo, you've basically seen the film. However, it is somewhat entertaining. In short, if you can watch it on cable and can't anything better, maybe give it a try.
According to the director Richard Bates Jr. his sophomore film is best
viewed at "a slumber party in your parents basement with all your best,
weirdest friends." I agree with that statement.
Richard Bates Jr. got the attention of many horror geeks with his debut Excision in 2012. Much deserving that, I'd say Excision may be my favorite modern horror movie. While Excision got as much critical acclaim as that type of movie could get, it wasn't really a hit and Bates was back in the square one again. Bates got frustrated & depressed. I don't want take too much space writing about it but I thought the making of & the story of how this movie got started is really interesting. If you're interested I recommend listening to interviews with the director online, there's lots of interesting stories about it.
Suburban Gothic started out as a super dark and bleak ghost story. Bates was just miserable and depressed while he wrote it but at some point he got the idea that maybe he should not do something miserable when he was so depressed himself. Suburban Gothic got rewritten as a comedy, Bates was not miserable anymore and now that I've seen the movie, I'm glad they made it a comedy.
A big trend with horror comedy is often making fun of the genre tropes and being self aware. Doing that can either be really funny or really cheap and lazy. I'm honestly kinda sick of that so it's refreshing to see a horror comedy that isn't self aware. It's not making fun of ghosts or ghost related movies. It's just a fun horror comedy. What I most loved about it is how seemingly innocent it felt like. Even if there's lots of dirty jokes the movie is free from gore and doesn't have any tits. Weird, I'm saying that's a good thing? Apparently that was one of the reasons why Bates struggled to get funding for the movie. The studios wanted a movie with sex and gore.
Suburban Gothic is clearly very low budget and it's really too bad that after doing Excision Bates actually had to work with even less money on his next movie. Studios should be throwing money at this guy. He works very well with the low budget and I've seen movies with bigger budget that look ten times worse. It's a very good looking movie, Bates already has a style of his own. Even the effects look very good, I was prepared for some really cheap stuff considering the budget.
Anyway, it's Friday night.Why aren't you watching this movie right now? It's a very fun horror comedy that will make you smile and might make you feel like a kid watching Fright Night again.
I first saw Excision, and was kind of intrigued by it, so I checked out
Bates Jr newest movie, which is this one, Suburban Gothic.
Now, this is a pretty strange movie. It seems like it can't quite decide what it is. It has quite a lot of weird comedy, or at least I think it is supposed to be funny, it didn't really hit home for me. The comedic timing seems way off a lot of the time, with a lot of wasted potential. Maybe I just didn't get it.
But this is not just a comedy, it is a horror comedy. Horror comedies are my favorite genre, nothing beats horror comedy if done right. Anyway, some of the scary scenes in this movie are actually quite creepy. But I think they drown in the weirdness of the rest of the movie.
We get a tiny bit of Jeffrey Combs, that's always nice, also a small cameo from John Waters. The father is kind of cool, and the main guy is weird, but OK.
To sum up: kooky movie, weird humor which I didn't really find very funny (let it be said: I'm a tough crowd, laughter wise), some creepy scenes, very simple story. OK.
I loved Richard Bates Jr.'s last movie Excision which was a great
little dark horror comedy with some great performances and trippy
direction. Now Bates follows that movie up with Suburban Gothic which
is a more outright comedy compared to Excision and he showcases a knack
for comedy here.
Good: The movie has a very goofy sense of humor that is reminiscent of 80's horror comedies like House. There's a good combination of slapstick, dialogue, and some of the darker themes. It never has alack of charm here. I liked Matthew Gray Gubler and Kat Dennings in the movie as they made a good team. Props to Ray Wise for delivering most of the humor of the movie.
Bad: The low budget really is noticeable here from the flashback sequences that come off as a student project to just the look of the movie. The CG effects are also pretty bad that correlates with the low budget issue. The humor also has some lapses where it doesn't work.
Overall, despite some hit or miss humor and a jarring low budget feel at times, it still delivers on some goofy horror comedy goodness.
I went to see Excision, Richard Bates Jr.'s debut, knowing almost
nothing about it. All I had read was a 5-star Empire review. I'm so
glad I trusted said review: Excision is a funny, original, sometimes
horrifying, and also disturbing film. I'll never forget its ending (a
true rarity: a profoundly sad ending in a horror movie). And it made me
very excited about future films from writer and director Bates.
Well, to put it mildly, Suburban Gothic is a disappointment. The goal here is obviously to pay homage to John Waters' trash/filthy/defying humor (no wonder Waters himself shows up in one of the best scenes of the film), but the result seems more like not-really-inspired Waters (Cry-Baby, Pecker) than excellent Waters (Polyester, Pink Flamingos). Close-up shots of feces, vomit, and sperm add nothing to the story - and unfortunately most of the humor of the film doesn't go much higher than this.
But it'd be unfair to classify Suburban Gothic as just scatological humor. There are some truly funny scenes, Matthew Gray Gubler is charming as the protagonist, and he makes a good team with Kat Dennings. (The cast is the best thing about the film, including Leland Palmer himself, Ray Wise, and Barbara Niven as the parents) But the story is so generic I couldn't believe it came from the same man who wrote Excision. There's not a single scary moment - which wouldn't be a problem if the film was a riot, like Shaun of the Dead. Unfortunately (for me), I wasn't laughing nearly as much as the girl behind me, who was almost dying of laughter every time Gubler gave a high-pitched scream - and he does it a lot.
I guess I'll have to wait for the next film from Bates. Or watch Excision again.
Matthew Gray Gubler was fantastic in this as a young man out of step with his father and his home town, but who continues to be unapologetically himself, despite the consequences. His fear responses (screaming, running and hiding) and his quick-witted responses to insults had me laughing out loud. The exchanges between his character Ray and his father were funny despite how totally awful his dad was. I really enjoyed the romantic elements too because they didn't seem overdone. I loved Ray's speech to the particularly obnoxious girl in his father's class and Ray and Becca's hilarious lack of grace after the penultimate scene. Really good fun that I highly recommended. I look forward to watching it again.
I love the understatement of the whole thing. It's almost as if the writers are turning Goth on its head. The suburban banality is what keeps you hooked in. The deadpan irony and the gags are terrific, the dialogue is laugh-a-minute, thanks to awesome writing and marvellous delivery from the actors. Sound track is great, the set-ups are fun. It's absolutely my sort of movie. I love the comedy of it. There's enough drama to carry the story apart from the Gothic element and the characters are believable. I like the pacing. It's also clever because it deals with a very contemporary issue of unemployed youngsters not leaving home, but in an original way. I'd love to know what premise the writers started with. The oxymoron of Suburban Gothic is the key to it. I mean, no crypts? No black eyeliner? And we get jump scares too.
Matthew Gray Gubler and Ray Wise are definitely good actors of drama-comedy. They are the core characters in this movie, because all plots are related to their broken relationship as father (Wise as Donald) and son (Gubler as Raymond). The movie begins of ordinary days of Raymond that comes back to his hometwon at the village to meet his parents and to find job. While killing his time, this story is developed by the discovery of an old coffin with the dead body girl inside at Raymond parents backyard by one of his father's Mexican workers. Ordinary days of Raymond becomes extraordinary and makes him fighting in arguments with his dad because Donald doesn't believe in supranatural things. For me, the movie plot is too simple whereas there are Gubler and Wise, so that the director should have taken them seriously with serious effects to show the audience about supranatural case. The ghost appearance is banal, just in dark wind, and there are some useless scenes. Remember, there are Gubler and Wise in this movie, so I expect the really ambiance of suburban Gothic, not just suburban family matters. Need improvement on the next movie!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
So I like Kat Dennings hair and make-up and that made the movie worth
it, she played her usual snarky sarcastic mess the character that she
always plays so expect nothing different for her she is definitely
The lead male character was just....nothing to look at, nothing to feel any kind of way about he was boring. Even when he was doing humor he was just boring. Think Benedict cumber-snatch but American and not British.
If you have no expectations for this movie and you just kind of want background noise to sleep too or you want to just waste some money and time than this is the movie for you but overall it's a snooze fest even the ghost effects were terrible.
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