Call it a ‘Ghostbusters‘ for these complex times, or an answer for every over educated 20-something who can’t find work in the real world, but the new film by Richard Bates Jr. (‘Excision’) entitled ‘Suburban Gothic’ is a horror comedy which hopes to make indie audiences laugh and scream at the same time. The storyline follows snooty MBA grad Raymond (Matthew Gray Gubler) who is forced to return to his parents’ home when he loses his apartment and can’t find a job. Gifted with the ability to see the paranormal, he is convinced by a mysterious bartender (Kat Dennings) to use said powers as a possible trade. As luck would have it, an evil entity is terrorizing his small town and it’s up to Raymond to save the day…sort of.
Reminiscent of the recent ‘Odd Thomas’ and ‘John Dies at the End,’ we have here yet another indie effort trading irony and ideas for big budget blockbuster F/X and popcorn movie polish. The emphasis on humor in the shaggy dog red band trailer fails to do the fear justice, suggesting that this may be less of a fright flick and more of a joke-fest with occasional jump scares. Still, some of the moments here are laugh out loud ludicrous (especially Ray Wise’s late night admonition). Check it out:
While I am not the biggest fan of Mr. Gubler or Ms. Dennings, they both seem in their element with this film. We get a bit of the ‘Ghostbusters’ concept, what with the agency storefront and a couple of illustrative investigations. Also, the whole “back to high school/bully” idea is decent, if overdone. Still, Bates is a decent director and perhaps, when viewed in context, the weirder moments here will work. According to Deadline.com the film is set to premiere at Montreal’s Fantasia Fest this month, with a future release in the works.