as “Jumper’s Tower” to residents, Juniper Tower is the Arkham of mental health
halfway houses. If you move in, you are unlikely to get much better or live
much longer. However, Suki has an advantage over her new neighbors. One of her
multiple personalities happens to be uncannily resourceful in John Suits’ The Scribbler (trailer here), which opens this
Friday in select markets.
Suki is undergoing radical therapy to “burn off” her excess personalities, she
would presumably be an unlikely candidate for out-patient treatment.
Nevertheless, she has been issued a portable burn unit and a room in the
friendly tower. Upon arrival, she is met by the grisly spectacle of jumper. It
will not be the last one.
is entirely populated by female patients, except for Hogan, who takes pride and
pleasure in being “the rooster in the hen house.” One of Suki’s multiples had a
thing for him when they were formally institutionalized together, so they
naturally pick up where they left off. Frankly, he is somewhat saddened by her
burn-off regimen, lamenting some of her multiples were his friends.
Nevertheless, the treatment seems to work, even though it causes temporary
blackouts and states of altered perception. Whenever Suki comes to, it seems
like another resident has committed suicide and the so-called Scribbler persona
has been busy modifying her décor and the burn unit.
by Dan Schaffer from his graphic novel, The
Scribbler incorporates elements from several genres (science fiction,
horror, dark fantasy) and generates some clever disbelief-suspending psychological
double-talk. Until the third act collapses into a maelstrom of mumbo jumbo, it
is a surprisingly effective noir psycho-thriller.
the best thing Suits has going for him is the massively creepy Juniper Tower.
Production designer Kathrin Eder and art director Melisa Jusufi truly make this
film come together, while cinematography Mark Putnam makes it all look suitably
ominous, in the tradition of its source material and Grant Morrison’s Arkham Asylum graphic novel.
cast is generally pretty good as well, particularly Katie Cassidy and Garret
Dillahunt as Suki and Hogan, respectively. Their screen chemistry is
appropriately weird, but undeniably charged-up. Gina Gershon, Ashlynn Yennie,
and Michelle Trachtenberg all chew the scenery with glee as various eccentrically
macabre residents of the Tower, but Eliza Dushku and Michael Imperioli seem
visibly confused to be playing their scenes as the cops interrogating Suki within
the film’s framing device. Fans of Sasha Grey should also take note, her
character quickly disappears after her entrance (its almost as much of a tease
as her prominently-billed cameo in The Girl from the Naked Eye).
Granted, the ending makes little sense, but that
is almost always the case in genre cinema. What is more important is how smart
and stylishly sinister the film is as it works its way there. Recommended with
surprising enthusiasm, The Scribbler opens
this Friday (9/19) in limited release.
Labels: Psychological Thrillers, Sasha Grey, Sci-Fi films