-MONTHLY VHS & DVD REVIEW-
cast: Trent Haaga, Brandy Little, Hayden Tweedie, Kimberly Grant, and Farah White
director: Jon Keeyes
90 minutes (R) 2004
widescreen ratio 1.85:1
eIndependent Cinema DVD Region 0 retail
reviewed by Steve Anderson
There's one good thing I can say for Suburban Nightmare. The opening theme song
running over the DVD is not only fitting, it's actually also pretty good in a dark sort
of way. Sadly, it's the only thing here that is good.
So what we've got here is the story of a pair of social climbers in the suburbs with
a strange preoccupation: killing people at random for fun! While they seem almost alarmingly
normal Deborah and Charles Rosenblad are actually a matched pair of ruthless psychopaths.
They also process their own meat. Guess what from...
If you said, 'My God! The Rosenblads eat what they kill and serve the neighbours up at
dinner parties!' you're more perceptive than you realise. And this sorrowful thing makes
me scream and weep with woe. I don't care how cheerfully and uniquely it's packaged. It's
still a movie about cannibalism, and movies about cannibalism have been done to death. I
mean, sure... this is a lot more refined than, say, any of the billions of 'Texas Chainsaw
Massacres' and their assorted knockoffs out there... but let's face it, it's still a movie
about people getting butchered and eaten by other people.
Yes, they tried to inject morality into it by introducing the anecdote about a sociology
experiment in which a fake serial killer moved into a neighbourhood, acted bizarrely, and
no one even noticed until there were screams coming from the house at all hours of the day
and night, but still...
It's a movie. About people being butchered and eaten by other people! Why? Now, maybe the
Rosenblads could have just been serial killers. This would've been a decent parallel to the
anecdote before the dinner scene. And yes, there's plenty of originality here... a pair of
bickering serial killers living the suburban lifestyle. But dammit, when they added cannibalism,
they went down a well-worn clichéd path that shouldn't have been touched.
Worse yet, Deb and Charlie are having marital problems. Isn't this pleasant? The cannibals
are having troubles with their relationship! I can scarcely believe garbage like this actually
exists. And Charlie isn't the sharpest tool in the shed. What does he do to smooth things
over with the little lady? He hires her a stripper! Not a Chippendale, either. A chick.
Charlie, I'd call you a dunce, but it seems to be working. Deb apparently swings both ways
to Charlie's certain delight. Oh! Until she kills the stripper! The rest of the movie is
devoted, pretty much, to a strange combination of bickering, threats of divorce, threats
of murder, and actual murder.
It was bad enough they dragged up cannibalism again, like so many other movies before it.
It was bad enough when they tried to be original and only managed to look like they were
trying too hard. When you put it all together, it just makes for a bad movie. As for the
ending, well... okay, I'll give it some begrudging credit here for being a highly original
and supercharged game of cat and mouse.
All in all, if you haven't figured out how I feel about Suburban Nightmare by now
then you probably never will. Despite its attempts at cleverness and uniqueness, despite
its truly extensive extras menu, Suburban Nightmare is one of the single most awful
pieces of blood-soaked overbearing pompous garbage I've ever seen.
The extra features available to us poor souls who managed to get a copy of this tripe
include featurettes a plenty: There's The Victims, a featurette on the end montage
of photo clips, World Of The Killers, Mind Of The Killers, On The Set,
and The Torture Room - all of them basically behind-the-scenes material. There's a
section of short films called 'Shock-O-Rama Shocking Shorts', and an array of trailers for
Screaming Dead, Suburban Nightmare, Dracula, Bite
Me!, Skin Crawl, and Sinful Wives. There's a special offer if you want
to subscribe to a magazine called Alternative Cinema Magazine, and even a set of