"Suitable Flesh" lets Heather Graham camp it up in this freaky-deaky body-swap B-movie

Suitable Flesh (2023)

If Cinemax After Dark produced a warped, freaky-deaky remake of “Freaky Friday,” it might look something like “Suitable Flesh.” This is actually an adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft’s short story “The Thing on the Doorstep,” with a key gender reversal and a lot of affection for the influential Stuart Gordon and Brian Yuzna. Written by veteran screenwriter Dennis Paoli ("Re-Animator" and "From Beyond") and directed by Joe Lynch ("Mayhem"), “Suitable Flesh” is a horny, campy hybrid of a body-swap fantasy, a gory occult horror movie, and an erotic thriller that isn’t afraid of sex.

Heather Graham is very game and gets to cut loose (eventually) as Dr. Elizabeth Derby, a psychiatrist who cares too much. She has her own successful practice and a doting husband, Eddie (Jonathan Schaech, rightfully seizing the opportunity to be the more topless one). When a troubled young man named Asa (Judah Lewis) comes into her office without an appointment, confiding in Beth about his home life with his father (a wickedly funny Bruce Davison) and then having a manic episode, she’s drawn to him and wants to help. Even though the audience knows she should completely forget about this new patient, Beth is inexplicably obsessed. Little does Beth know that Asa isn’t actually Asa, and once Beth is seduced, her body gets invaded as well.

“Suitable Flesh” promptly starts with a terrifically stylish opening title sequence that transitions into the point-of-view from inside a body bag. (There’s more iris transitions and match cuts where that came from.) The film is told through flashback, as Dr. Derby from a padded cell in a psych ward tells her colleague and best friend, Dr. Danni Upton (Barbara Crampton), how she got there. A great deal of this will feel amateurishly executed to those expecting a straight horror movie, but “Suitable Flesh” has a soapy, heightened tone and sticks to it. It’s wonky on all levels, and leaning in all the way is key here. Graham hasn’t been given this much free rein or scenery to chew in a role in quite some time. Read the full review at GuyAtTheMovies.com

Grade: B -

RLJE Films and Shudder released "Suitable Flesh" (99 min.) in theaters and on VOD on October 27, 2023.