The Winners are anything but, being an undistinguished rock band playing to tiny, apathetic audiences in nowhere bars. Their time has not only passed, it never arrived. But just as they seem headed for the scrapheap, their bass player (Jessica Paré) is bitten by a vampire. Though her newly acquired taste for blood is a bit of an inconvenience, leading to some extremely messy murders to clean up, she now mesmerizes audiences, and the band catches fire. Leader Rob Stefaniuk is so desperate to catch a break that he is willing to turn a blind eye to just about anything. But complications loom, not least of which is Malcolm McDowell in full Van Helsing mode, heavily armed and sporting an eye patch.
“Suck has the potential to become a cult classic,” reads the blurb from Rolling Stone, and that might well turn out to be the case. But Suck also rather desperately wants to be a cult classic, and that desire can stand in the way of its becoming the genuine article. It pulls all the right moves – black humour, full musical numbers, rock star cameos, outrageous gore, Malcolm McDowell – but those moves feel just a bit too self-conscious. The songs are rather bland, and the humour is hit and miss – though to its credit, when the film is funny, it is very funny (Iggy Pop’s deadpan turn is one highlight). The flashback scenes of McDowell’s traumatic first vampire encounter are very well done, cleverly incorporating repurposed footage of a young McDowell. In the end, while not everything works here, what does work, works well enough to make this worth a rental.
This is not a big-budget film, but the video is testament to the fact that piles of cash are not required to produce a handsome-looking product. The colours are terrific, and are complemented by very strong contrasts, flesh tones and blacks, delivering a rich, sumptuous visual feast. The grain is minor, and the image is sharp. The aspect ratio is 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen.
Sound is pretty fine, too. The dialogue is clear, and never drowned out by music or sound effects. Said effects are good, creating an involving soundscape, and the score has an appropriately big sound. As mentioned above, I have my reservations about the songs themselves – they strike me as little to middle-of-the-road for the subject matter, but then, if all reviews are by their very nature subjective, musical taste is even more ear-of-the-beholder (if I might so mix my metaphor) territory. In any event, the sound mix is excellent.
“Down to the Crossroads”: (45:08) A making-of featurette that goes into far more depth than is usually the case, and features plentiful interviews with the bigger names in the cast (small as their roles might be) – Iggy Pop, Alice Cooper, Henry Rollins, and so forth.
This isn’t the next Shaun of the Dead or Phantom of the Paradise. But it is genuinely fun, and worth a look.