Short Cuts – A whole lot of ‘Suck’.

Suck –2009

Director: Rob Stefaniuk

Starring: Rob Stefaniuk, Jessica Pare, Iggy Pop, Alice Cooper, Henry Rollins, Moby

I’ve always been a staunch supporter of Canadian content, regardless of quality. For every pile of pig shit, there’s always got to be a few pearls right? I’ll throw ‘Rock and Roll Nightmare’, ‘Class of 1984’, and ‘Rituals’ right up along side anything by Cronenberg, or Denis Arcand as classic Canadian film fare. Now that we’ve identified a few of the gems, let’s look at the opposite end of the pig pen.

Here were have a vampire rock comedy aptly named, ‘Suck’, which is basically a vanity project starring and directed by Rob Stefaniuk. The film makes no bones about the fact that it’s tailor made for the ‘Twilight’ set, and that’s fine for that limited demographic. The problem stems from the ‘rock’ aspect that it tries to portray. If you intend to ‘bring the rock’ whether it’s live or on screen, you had better be prepared to rock the balls off a rhinoceros at 40 yards. While the background to the film is padded with some of the greatest rock songs recorded to date (Tv Eye, Sympathy For The Devil, Here Comes The Night), the original soundtrack comes across so weak and flaccid, and that’s a shame.
Unfortunately even with the obligatory appearances of rock legends like the Coop, Iggy Pop, Alex Liefson and Henry Rollins the film can barely muster up a popcorn fart in terms of  rocking out. As much as I love the Stooges, even the mighty power of Iggy isn’t enough to keep a film afloat (Anyone remember ‘The Crow: City Of Angels?’) Points need to be awarded to the director for at least having the common sense to include Toronto high priestess of rock Carole Pope in a cameo.

The film basically lays out the story of a generic hipster ‘rock’ band in Montreal pulled out of obscurity overnight by the bite of a vampire. It should be noted that said vampire comes off looking like a cross between a tweaked out version of Johnny Depp’s Mad Hatter, and the lead singer of the Canadian band, The Tea Party. Either way, ridiculous is the word of the day.  So apparently the bite of this ‘mad batter’ automatically gives the band talent, as they instantly become media darlings once they turn over to the dark side. As the movie progresses ,the band roams town to town satisfying their urges, all the while living the ‘rocker’ lifestyle.

It’s sadly obvious that director Stefaniuk clearly drank from the bath waters of one Bruce Mcdonald, in trying to present this weak knee equivalent of Mcdonald’s classic rock and road trilogy Roadkill, Highway 61, and Hardcore Logo. The idea of bringing vampires and rock together seems like a winning combination, but if you can’t bring the rock, then you’re stuck with a surplus of ‘suck’, and unfortunately the wrong kind.

On a positive tip, ‘ Suck‘ does have the casting of one Malcolm McDowell going for it, as the vampire hunter done wrong. Our favorite droogie does his best at chewing up the scenery, and sticking it to whomever he can. One surprising highlight of the film is a flashback sequence with McDowell, comprised of vintage footage of McDowell as a young man, from Lindsay Anderson’s classic, ‘O’ Lucky Man’. As with the rock icons, the inclusion of McDowell only serves to tease at what the film could have been, as opposed to the final product. Regardless of what you think of the current undead shtick, a vampire film should have a real ‘bite’, and this has about as much as grandad’s dentures. What we’re left with in the case of, ‘Suck’ is a film wrapped up in it’s own smugness, and reliance on a second hand crib note knowledge of rock and pop culture references.

Now I know some of you might be wondering why I decided to sit down with a little nugget like, ‘Suck’ when it really doesn’t seem to be up my alley. Like I said in the beginning, I make it a point to try to give all Canadian film content my support, even when it’s hard to swallow. ‘Suck’ is a perfectly suitable film for every misunderstood angsty teenager on your block, but for anyone else it’s an exercise of good potential put to waste.

If there’s any idea to go forward with a sequel, then someone should definitely drive a stake into that plan right quick.

VERDICT: If you’re hankerin for a hunk of Canadian cheddar, then there’s much more suitable fare than this.
Pick it up at Walmart for your favorite Emo kid, otherwise leave it be.

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