Suburban Gothic (2014)

Previously on Chwineka Watches:

 But then again, Matthew Gray Gubler–you have to say his full name, I don’t make the rules–has been in three other movies Bates has made. And one of which is… a horror comedy co-starring Kat Dennings?! Oh shit, I have to watch that next!

As promised in the Excision post, today we’re talking about Suburban Gothic. Outside of Excision I have not actually seen anything featuring Mr. Matthew Gray Gubler. I didn’t get into Criminal Minds and the Alvin and the Chipmunks quadrilogy is reserved for a week when I just want to suffer. But I knew of him through memes, so I was excited to watch this. Add in Kat Dennings–now featured in WandaVision which I talk about the day after each new episode–and we have a recipe for a good time! It’s just a shame, then, that the movie was… fine. It’s fine. It was okay.

Matthew Gray Gubler plays Raymond, a failed business major who has to move back in with his parents. His mom Eve is a sweet woman with a crush on the Hispanic guy they hired to do yard work, and his dad Donald (Ray Wise) is a cranky old racist. Raymond used to be a fat kid who saw ghosts, but after moving away he lost weight and all the spooky stuff just seemed to stop. But the spooky stuff returns with a vengeance when a box with a dead girl’s skeleton is found in their backyard and aggressive hauntings begin to threaten his family. Along for the ride is Becca (Kat Dennings), a goth bartender who doesn’t quite have a crush on Raymond, but wouldn’t be opposed to sleeping with him at some point. Hijinks ensue, including Donald’s dick being broken by a ghost and Raymond finding out that his heart medication has actually been antipsychotics this whole time and that’s why he stopped seeing ghosts. In the end the ghost is put to rest, Eve leaves Donald, and Raymond and Becca open a ghost detective business.

I had really high hopes for this movie, you know? Looking at the ingredients this had a lot of potential. But it’s more of a dry, Wes Anderson-esque comedy than what you would imagine from the premise. Some of it was me setting expectations the movie had no intention of hitting, but a lot of the comedy just… didn’t land for me. Donald has a minor recurring gag of scooting his chair in a weird way, and it happens enough times that I think we were supposed to find it funnier than it was? There are also some really weird shots in here; the main one that comes to mind the is the conversation with Raymond and his doctor (Jeffrey Combs) where the camera is pointed directly at their faces for the conversation, switching back and forth as they talk. Like, the whole movie is kind of surreal and the camera angles add to it, but the whole thing didn’t leave the impression I was hoping for.

Then again, the other movie I watched that night was Tsunambee, which sounds like a Sharknado parody but was actually an end of days religious movie. So by comparison Suburban Gothic gets two thumbs up!


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