Directed by Jeffery Scott Lando
Starring Ellen MacNevin, Sage Brocklebank, Taylor Russell, Connor Fielding, Johannah Newmarch, Duncan Ollerenshaw
A high school girl and her bullying peers are terrorized by an escaped psychotic killer who is more than meets the eye.
There is a good movie trying to get out of Suspension, but it just can’t quite fight its way through the average display on show. There is nothing terrible in the filmmaking, writing or execution, but there isn’t anything great either.
From the trailers, Suspension shows a lot of promise as a troubled and bullied girl at school is writing and drawing a comic book based on brutal murders, which also seem to be happening in real life. This all comes to a head when our seemingly insane artist is home alone with her mute brother, and her sadistic and psychopathic masked killer father has come home.
Where Suspension shines is in its design and style. Director Jeffery Scott Lando mutes a lot of the colours and it gives it a gritty and visceral feel, especially when the blood begins to flow. It almost has a Sin City edge to it, which really helps with its comic book motif. The movie-within-a-movie (or comic-book-within-a-movie) is the true highlight of Suspension and certainly shows that Lando has a real knack for direction.
Where the movie falls down though is in two key areas: the acting and the story. As aforementioned, the trailer for Suspension builds up this great idea that the comic book Emily is drawing is reflecting a real-life she could have no knowledge about, which gives it an almost Babadook-esque quality, but sadly this idea is never fully realised. And what we’re given instead is a paint-by-numbers slasher flick without any of the charm that came from the 1980s or 1990s resurgence heyday. Even the movie’s “twist” is far too telegraphed to really have any sort of impact.
But it’s the terrible hammy acting that blows the film up. As a genre, horror movies are often forgiven for bad acting as its seen as a “trope”, but movies like Suspension are unforgivable. This is high school-level production bad, only acted out by the kids who never went to acting classes. The dialogue they’re given doesn’t really help matters, but even with a tighter script these actors would have never recovered.
There is a decent amount of gore on show, so blood hounds will enjoy the movie to a certain degree, and there is something to be applauded about a group of filmmakers getting together to make something with as ambitious style as Suspension has. But another draft of the script and a totally different cast would have helped elevate this film to a whole other level. At present, it’s not overtly offensive and terrible, but it’s hardly worth your time either. Even if you don’t hate it, you won’t remember much about it once you’ve left the cinema or turned off the DVD. A great idea in principle, but only half-baked and disappointing to say the least.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★
Luke Owen is the Deputy Editor of Flickering Myth and the host of the Flickering Myth Podcast. You can follow him on Twitter @LukeWritesStuff.