Suck (2010)

Suck is hilarious. Although not vastly original, it is bloody, tongue-in-cheek, well directed, solidly acted and features a rocking soundtrack. Suck it up, because it’s awesome.

Vampire comedies have not had a good track record – Dracula: Dead & Loving It, Love at First Bite, Vampire in Brooklyn – so Suck may not seem like an appealing prospect to most, yet it is genuinely well made and very funny.

The storyline is pretty pedestrian – a group of wannabe rockers gain their big break when their female vocalist gets bitten by a vampire. She uses her new-found allure to attract an obsessive audience, but slowly the rest of the band fall under her influence and begin morally debasing themselves for the next slice of fame. But is it worth it? Of course not! They’re killing people!

It’s an obvious, slightly clichéd storyline that works as a deliberately unsubtle metaphor for the dangerous coalition between addiction and rock n’ roll. Vampirism is just another drug used as an excuse springboard for musical fame and fortune, yet Suck thankfully doesn’t focus on this. It focuses instead on the characters’ relationships in the band, and it’s brilliantly done.

The band consists of leader Joey, lead singer Jennifer, guitarist Tyler, drummer Sam and roadie Hugo. Each has their own unique voice and they’re portrayed excellently. Chris Ratz is especially hilarious as the long-suffering French Canadian vampire-wannabe Hugo. He’s a joy to watch throughout, and this is the case with everyone involved. Malcolm McDowell is also surprisingly funny as the hammy and continually unfortunate one-eyed Eddie Van Helsing.

Brilliantly cast and scripted, rarely is a scene wasted in Suck, and our protagonist Joey (Rob Stefaniuk) is believable, loveable and essentially sympathetic. As is Jessica Pare’s gorgeously alluring Jennifer, who’s penchant for sticking straws into people and sucking them dry is treated with casual shrugs once everyone accepts it’s their ticket to success (see the drugs metaphor yet? Not subtle).

Even the bit characters are memorable, with a bouncer and customs guard coming up with some of the best lines. But Suck doesn’t sell itself on these characters, but on starring a plethora of rock royalty… and it certainly doesn’t disappoint. Iggy Pop, Alice Cooper and Henry Rollins give some decent supporting turns, and Rollins absolutely shines as Rockin’ Roger, the sarcastic radio show host. Music legends Moby, Alex Lifeson and Carole Pope even turn up, supported by comedian Dave Foley (in a superb role as douchebag band manager Jeff). There are very sly references to the history of rock throughout – some subtle, some in-your-face obvious – but it’s tastefully and smartly done.

There are some obvious flaws in Suck – it’s occasionally clichéd, some scenes seem cut short or poorly edited, there appears to be some confusion over the vampire’s abilities (can they all read minds?!) and it’s shockingly obvious where the film is leading, but these are minor quibbles as the comedy and characters make it a thoroughly enjoyable experience.

Rob Stefaniuk is a genius. He writes, directs and stars in a film that is both hilarious and greatly made. Suck is brilliant fun – the script is excellent, the direction exciting, the soundtrack rocking and the acting fantastic. Despite a lack of originality in places, it is thoroughly enjoyable and well worth watching. Suck does not suck.

Rating: ★★★★★★★★☆☆

One Comment on “Suck”

  1. Rag says:

    Mr Scullion is not wrong.

    This is a crackin’ film. I bought it with some trepidation, as films that bill rock stars on the cover have often dissapointed in the past. But as an age old fan of most of the named aged rockers, and a big fan of John Carpenter movies (including Prince of Darkness, which had a brief appearance of Alice Cooper stabbing a guy with a bike) I, if you forgive the phrase, sucked it up and bought it. And I’m so glad I did.

    Nb. The John Carpenter reference is largely spurious. It was the Alice link that drew me in. Yeah, I’m a fan.

    The rock is fairly mediocre and easy listening. But that is not the central draw of the film. The characterisation is great. The subtle tongue in cheek humour is not only liberally sprinkled throughout, but it works well. Hugo’s Renfrew, Jennifer’s voice (oh, and face) and Joey’s limp wristed heroic moralism really worked. But (other than the acting, script and general feel of the film) what really made it for me were the Rock Star drop in’s.

    I love Alice, Iggy and Rollins. McDowell and Mobys inclusion were cool too. And unlike so many rock star drop in’s I have seen before, these did not detract from the film in any way. They were a seemless inclusion rather than a cameo for the sake of a famous face. They were a perk, not an excuse to amp awareness.

    It’s not gonna win any awards for it’s greatness. But there is greatness none the less. There are a lot worse ways to waste a couple of hours.

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