Our lovely friend Jasmine had the privilege of attending the World Premiere of “Suburban Gothic” last weekend at the Fantasia Film Festival, and was kind enough to write a review of this epic tale starring Matthew Gray Gubler and directed by Richard Bates Jr. Here is her take on “Suburban Gothic”! Enjoy!
Picture yourself gathered around a campfire with a group of good friends telling each other ghost stories. You have fun and laugh, you scare each other and you share secrets that no one else will ever know. That is exactly the warm and comforting feeling you get when watching “Suburban Gothic”.
I came into this World Premier with a different feeling in my head. After have watched “Excision”, the first movie from writer and director Richard Bates Jr., I was expecting “Suburban Gothic” to be just as disturbing but with a twist of humor, thanks to the hero of the movie Raymond, played by Matthew Gray Gubler. To my surprise, Richard changed the recipe to this movie around, making it ever so delicious to the heart, the eyes and the mind. But don’t get me wrong, Richard still added the element of creepy and disturbing, but it was so much more.
The movie is about Raymond, a man who wants to do anything but return home to his parents, hoping to find a job in upper management. To his misfortune, Raymond has no choice but to go back to his old home town, bringing back the memories of being a miserable fat kid who got picked on by everyone, including his dad. He also reincounters his old experiences with the supernatural, making him believe that his house is haunted. After reuniting with an old classmate Becca, played by Kat Dennings, the pair decide to investigate the house and to find out what is really going on.
The adventure they go on is hilarious and creepy all at the same time. Richard Bates Jr. did an amazing job incorporating the creepy into Raymond’s paranormal experiences. Snapping us back and forth into Raymond’s mind with visions and a creepy music in the background as he went into said visions. Raymond’s dreams, which appeared more realistic until we see Raymond wake up in his tiny old bed from his childhood, also had a humoristic creepy factor such as the time you see Raymond’s toenails, snap open off of his toes and musically dance in front of our eyes.
Matthew Gray Gubler, being a weirdo himself, has an excellent grasp of Raymond’s character. A man fighting to be himself and to be accepted as who he is without being thought of as a crazy man or gay. Gubler’s acting talent is shown greatly by Raymond’s movement and thoughts and did a great job in making us laugh throughout the movie with his innocence towards sex, his girl-like screams and his actions such as jumping out the window or running down the hall only to be found cowering in a bathtub.
Kat Dennings, who plays Becca, also brings in a great and dry, sarcastic humor that can’t help you do anything else but laugh and smile. She takes Raymond under her wing, and after having her own horrible fat kid childhood, she is a breath of fresh air for him. She believes in him, despite what everyone else says.
Other great actors played in the movie helped the chemistry in the movie to be even better. Ray Wise, who plays Raymond’s Dad, is funny and arrogant, Barbara Niven plays the sweet and supporting Mom that just makes you want to hug her, and Ronnie Blevins plays the bully that seems to get what’s coming to him from our heroes Raymond and Becca.
The movie makes you feel great. As a weirdo myself, I found the movie to be heartwarming, and as I watch Raymond fight with his father and his past to prove that he is a wonderful person himself and he doesn’t need to change, I find myself understanding Raymond more and more. I found myself rooting for Raymond and hoping that he does prove, that he is in fact, not crazy and someone that can be accepted into this world as himself.
“Suburban Gothic” is not for all viewers. It has a lot of swearing, some graphic sexual imagery and can make you jump out of your skin. You have been warned, this movie is definately creepy, funny and extremely weird. But I think for all those people who have always felt like an outcast, it is definately a movie worth seeing. It definately has an underdog quality that makes you root for Raymond until the very end.
I do not leave you with much on the details because I want you all to run out and watch it! I myself cannot wait to see it again. This is a movie I definately hope to get to add to my collection and find myself watching on halloween night. It will definately be one of my favourite underdog movies.
Don’t think of this movie as a very deep or extremely scary movie. It is simple, funny, weird and has a charm of its own. Just remember to sit back, enjoy and just have fun. I promise you, if you go in with no expectations, you will come out of there feeling better as a person and definately smiling. All I need to say, score one for the weirdos! We rule!
Thanks Jasmine for the outstanding review!!! We hope to have more news about “Suburban Gothic” showings in the near future.