Saturday, September 12, 2009

TIFF Review - Suck

Canadian vampire band road movie.

That would be Suck in a nutshell.

The Winners are your standard kinda-hard-working bar band. 10 years of playing small clubs to drunk crowds who don't really care has taken its toll. Their weasel of a manager Jeff (Dave Foley) quits by trying to convince band leader Joey (writer/director Rob Stefaniuk) to fire him. He's realized they're a dead end band on the verge of ending it, and is ready to move to the next big thing (Japanese Hip Hop according to him). The band is so hard up that while on a tour (Montreal-Toronto-Buffalo-New York) they're sleeping in their car, a hearse, instead of a hotel in Montreal.

Which is the last straw for Jennifer (the always hot Jessica Paré), who instead opts to go to a party with some friends - a creepy guy (The Burning Brides' Dimitri Coats) that she just met in the bar. Of course, knowing what the film is about, it's not hard to guess how this goes.

Jennifer misses the hearse ride to Toronto, but shows up just before showtime looking a bit pale, with a new dye job, and some pretty noticeable eyes. Her claims of being exactly the same as before are less than believable.

Strange thing about vampires is that they tend to have some powers and they draw attention to themselves. Jennifer's change starts turning around the forturnes of the band. The other thing about vampires is they get hungry. It doesn't take long before the band finds out what's really going on with their bassist and hit a crossroads on what to do.

Of course, the fact Eddie Van Helsing (played with clumsy gusto by Malcom McDowell) is after them as he seeks out the head vampire only complicates matters.

This is a movie with it's Candadian tongue planted firmly in its Canadian cheek. Jokes about Americans, Buffalo, a whiny French Canadian roadie, and various Toronto locales make sure you know who made it. Cameos from Canadian rock icons Alex Lifeson and Carole Pope help too.

Not that they're the only ones. Alice Cooper, Iggy Pop, Henry Rollins, and Moby also make appearances. Alice and Iggy are in roles that one might expect, while Rollins and Moby definitely step outside their norms. How far out? Moby, a vegan, squeezes raw meat over his head to bathe in the blood. He's not a vampire. Rollins channels his best Fred Willard for his role.

And not that it can only be enjoyed by Canadians. It's decidely medium-budget, but done well. It's jokes are largely universal, and play more with musical icons and past band movies than national in-jokes.

Oh, and the music ain't bad either. It's pretty generic bar-rock, but it serves its purpose admirably.

Don't expect to come out changed, but if you've got 90 minutes to kill with a funny, enjoyable, and original take on some familiar themes, Suck is a pretty good way to spend it.


Katitude said...

can't wait for this one!

madbrooklyn said...

Me too - should be fun!