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The Hell Plaza Oktoberfest IV

Hell Plaza Oktoberfest IV

Adam Jahnke - Main Page

Suck (DVD)

2009 (2010) - Capri Films (E1 Entertainment)
Released on DVD on September 28th, 2010

Let's get this out of the way right off the bat. It takes balls of steel to make a low-budget movie called Suck. It's sort of the cinematic equivalent to taping a "Kick me hard" sign on your own back before going out in public. Now factor into the equation that your movie is about vampires, monsters that even the most forgiving horror fan is getting more than a little sick of, and it's supposed to be a rock & roll comedy. Nervous yet? Try this on for size... the writer/director is also the star and co-wrote and performed most of the songs. Sounds like a recipe for disaster, doesn't it? Well, surprise surprise, Suck turns out to be quite a bit of fun.

The story concerns a struggling rock band on a last-ditch tour of Canada and the northeast U.S. Their manager (Kids in the Hall alum Dave Foley) has already given up on them. The band's on the verge of calling it quits when bass player Jessica Pare hooks up with a vampire (Dimitri Coats of the band Burning Brides). Her new pale look mesmerizes audiences and the band finally has its first taste of success, eventually hitting it big as an all-vamp group. But hot on their heels is vampire hunter Eddie Van Helsig (Malcolm McDowell), determined to track down Coats and end the vampire's reign of terror forever.

While the general idea of Suck is reasonably clever, it's the execution that makes the movie work. Rob Stefaniuk, the writer, director and star of the film, creates an amiable, good-natured vibe that draws you in even when the movie's not quite as funny as it should be. There are some laugh-out-loud moments, mostly courtesy of Chris Ratz as the band's French-Canadian roadie-turned-Renfield. But even when I wasn't laughing, I found myself smiling and enjoying the ride. Stefaniuk scored quite a coup with his cast. In addition to Foley and McDowell, supporting roles are filled by a veritable who's who of legendary rock stars, including Alice Cooper, Iggy Pop, Henry Rollins, Carole Pope, Alex Lifeson from Rush, and, perhaps most amusingly, Moby as the lead singer of a shock-rock metal band. Where else are you going to see Moby squeezing blood out of a hunk of raw meat onto his head?

Gregor Hagey's cinematography is colorful and playful, containing several clever homages to iconic album covers. The movie's look (and sound... the music is equally important) give it a 70s feel that reminded me specifically of Brian De Palma's brilliant Phantom of the Paradise. Granted, Suck isn't quite at the level of De Palma's movie. Not every joke hits its target and it suffers from a lame ending that made me wonder if Stefaniuk was forced to choose between what he wanted to do and what he could afford. But for the most part, Stefaniuk nails the tone he's aiming for and delivers a consistently entertaining movie.

The DVD presentation of Suck looks and sounds very good, certainly better than average for a low-budget horror flick. Colors are bright and vibrant and the 5.1 audio works well for the music. Stefaniuk and Hagey team up for a reasonably engaging audio commentary that, if nothing else, certainly suggests these would be fun guys to hang out with. The making-of documentary, Down to the Crossroads, has some good interviews, especially with the featured rock stars, but at 45 minutes, does go on a bit long. Other extras on the disc include a red-band trailer and a music video for Burning Brides' song, "Flesh and Bone".

I'll be the first to admit that my expectations for Suck could not possibly have been lower and that may have played a part in my enjoyment of the film. But rest assured that isn't the only reason. Suck is always amusing, occasionally hilarious and just a bloody lot of fun. At the very least, I'll take this over Twilight any day of the week.

Film Rating: B
Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras): B+/B+/C+

Adam Jahnke

Adam Jahnke - Main Page
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