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SUCK
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Reviewed by: Zombie Boy

Directed by: Rob Stefaniuk

Starring:
Rob Stefaniuk
Jessica Paré
Dimitri Coats

Movie:  
star star star star
Extras:  
star star star star
Overall:  
star star star star
What's it about
Normally vampirism in the music industry is purely metaphorical. Not so for The Winners, in this horror rock-n-roll comedy.
Is it good movie?
Joey Winner is on the wrong side of 30 to still be playing in a bar band, The Winners, and his failure is thrown in his face when his manager quits and he has a fight with his ex-girlfriend, who also happens to be his bass player. She leaves that night’s show with some creepy dude, and shows up the next day as a vampire. As she spreads the evil through the rest of the band, Joey becomes the last holdout, even though being a blood-sucking monster seems to be the only way to achieve success after ten years of hard, fruitless work.

That makes it sound like a drama, but in fact it is mainly a comedy, as well as being peppered throughout with musical interludes. Against all odds this genre mash-up is quite successful. The key is finding balance, and Suck does that exquisitely. The vampires are scary when they need to be, the comedy is black enough to not be corny but not so mean as to alienate the viewer, and the music, especially the theme song, Flesh and Bone by Burning Bride, is really quite good.

As The Winners have the usual travails of success and failure, from in-fighting to terrible radio interviews to the dead bodies that pile up (well, maybe that’s not so usual) what keeps the story from feeling trite was the decision to make the photography and score reflect the emotional landscape rather than the physical. The sky is red or orange, never blue. The lighting changes colors with the characters’ moods, music stops and starts depending on who’s on camera, and frequent use of slo-mo and stop-motion animation convey the surreal world that surrounds the band.

The whole crew did an amazing job on this highly stylized, FX-heavy, musical treat, but kudos must go foremost to Suck’s brainchild, writer/director/star Rob Stefaniuk. In addition to those roles he co-wrote and played the music, and was hands-on with the stop-motion stuff. He’s a man who had always played in unsuccessful bands, and took a huge chance in trying to make a movie that used a novel approach to both filmmaking and infusing horror-comedy with the subtext of all the self-destructive pitfalls that come with success.

Damn. All that and I never got to Malcolm McDowell as the vampire hunter, Dimitri Coates as lead vampire Queeny, the supporting roles by Henry Rollins, Iggy Pop, Alice Cooper, Alex Lifeson, Moby, and Carole Pope, or the frequent homages to famous album covers staged throughout the film. Oh well.
Video / Audio
Video: Widescreen of course, with an aspect ratio of 1.85:1. The film was shot with a RED camera, and looks absolutely fabulous. The film is highly stylized, and every single shot is meticulously lit and color-corrected or bleached, depending, to get a specific look, and coupled with the animation Suck is a visual feast. It literally mesmerized me.

Audio: There are two Dolby tracks, 5.0 and 2.0, and an English subtitle track for the deaf and hard of hearing. In general the audio is without complaint.
The Extras
Down to the Crossroads or: How to Make a Movie Suck: This is a 45-minute making of documentary, with behind the scenes footage and interviews with just about everyone involved. It is very comprehensive and shows just how grounded the whole production was, and how committed to the project everyone was. Iggy Pop especially stands out as an intelligent, eloquent dude.

Burning Brides “Flesh and Bone” music video: The scene where most of the footage for this video was culled is my favorite part of the film, and I must confess I am slightly obsessed with this song right now. The song is amazing, and the video is creepy. If you watched this and only this, you’d never know the film was mostly a comedy.

Commentary with writer/director/star Rob Stefaniuk and cinematographer Gregor Hagey: This is an affable and entertaining track by two guys who obviously loved being involved with the film. It is highly listenable.

There is also a trailer, of course.
Last Call
When you think of a vampire comedy centered on a rock band, you probably don’t think of an outstanding movie. Well, put that thought to bed, because Suck happens to be both. It has horror, comedy, good music, and an impressive supporting cast of rock icons. There is literally something in this movie for everyone. It looks amazing, sounds amazing, and you should watch it pretty much right now.
ARROW IN THE HEAD'S RATING SYSTEM
star star star star I'D BUTCHER MY FAMILY TO SEE THIS AGAIN
star star star HANG ME BUT I DUG IT A LOT
star star AN OK WAY TO KILL TWO HOURS
star JUST SLING AN ARROW IN MY HEAD AND LET ME DIE IN PEACE

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