International Weirdness : “Suburban Coffin”

Posted: August 26, 2019 in movies
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

As a general rule, when a movie’s IMDB summary is scant on details, you know something’s up. I mean, whoever makes a film can go in there and write whatever blurb about it they want, and yet writer/director Benjamin Rider — the guy behind 2018 UK production Suburban Coffin — submitted only a cryptic, one-sentence description of the fruits of his labor (and 2,000 pounds of his money). Verbatim, it reads : “The devil, disguised as an insurance salesman, appears in the suburbs of London.”

Which, fair enough, is what this flick is about — but surely that can’t be all it’s about, can it?

Actually, uhhhmmm — yeah, it can. Clocking in at just over an hour, this is nevertheless a bit of a slow burn, and probably features a few too many characters for its own good. Alasdair Melrose turns in pretty solid work as Old Scratch himself, and of course temptation is the name of his game — but those tempted (and otherwise) aren’t exactly the most compelling characters, nor are the performers tasked with bringing them to some semblance of “life” apparently up to the task, so my message to the likes of Angie Adler, Lily Smith, and Lucas Sokolowski (who cuts an absurd figure as Diabolos), is : don’t quit your day jobs just yet. Harsh, I know, but I gotta call ’em like I see ’em.

To that end, Rider himself isn’t exactly ready for prime time at this stage of his career, either : a number of the scenes in this film are awash in weird lighting that obscures the proceedings (perhaps for the best), his eye for shot composition borders one the non-existent, and there are weird things going on with the sound that sometimes distract and/or detract from the general goings-on, which frankly need all the help they can get to remain interesting.

The news isn’t all bad, though — I guess. The emptiness of the suburban setting really does come through more by default than anything else — when all you’re doing is pointing, shooting, and hoping for the best it’s pretty hard to screw up capturing the character of a locale to at least a cursory extent — and the pacing improves a bit toward the end, but I defy you to remain actively interested all the way up to that point. It’s not an impossible task, but it is a difficult one, and given that it doesn’t pay anything, I’d have to advise that it’s really not worth the attempt on your part.

So, that’s me being the stereotypical “negative Nellie,” I suppose, but what can you do? I take no particular pleasure or pride in trashing obvious labors of love such as this, and I give Rider credit for getting his extremely modest little number all the way to Amazon Prime’s streaming service (I couldn’t tell you whether or not it’s seen a Blu-ray or DVD release), but beyond that I really can’t think of anything to fill in on the “plus” side of Suburban Coffin‘s ledger. Better luck next time to all involved, but it’s not like that “next time” is anything I’ll be looking forward to based on the evidence offered up here.

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Comments
  1. Ryan C. (trashfilmguru) says:

    Reblogged this on Through the Shattered Lens.

  2. BMovieLover says:

    “weird lighting that obscures the proceedings… there are weird things going on with the sound that sometimes distract and/or detract from the general goings-on” – this reviewer clearly missed the point of this being a retro drive-in film. Lol

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