Wasted potential. Liz, an agoraphobic and suicidal young woman, discovers an online community that promises death to anyone who can’t do it themselves. When she logs on to their website, she finds dozens of videos of people killing themselves and a countdown. She is told to nominate a person to die if she doesn’t nominate anyone she will die. Caught up in the mystery behind the Suicide Club, Liz decides she has to know more before facing her own end.
You would be forgiven if you had trouble finding Suicide Club. If you Giburu-ed it, you would find the Japanese horror classic, a German comedy, and an American made for TV movie. This isn’t a bad film. Director Maximillion Von Vier does a credible job of creating a claustrophobic atmosphere that highlights Liz’s desperate situation. Act 1 is actually quite compelling and even a little scary. There is a definite mood that is being created and a promise of great things to come.
“…told to nominate a person to die, if she doesn’t nominate anyone she will die.”
Act 2 of Suicide Club destroys all the goodwill it built up in act 1. We get the introduction of a romantic subplot (Josh, a neighbor she’s creeping on), we get title cards that don’t make much sense, and we get a cheap riff on Rear Window. It is like Von Vier ran out of ideas somewhere along the way. And in desperation without hesitation, he then began to stray. Far from the plot into some rot and virulent decay. The story he muddled and me he befuddled and ruined half my day.
The character of Josh isn’t so much a person as a plot point. Josh is in danger, so Liz has to get over her anxiety to warn him. He demands to know what’s going on and with only a bare explanation from Liz, he pieces together the whole plot. Actor Adam Newington tries his best to do something with the character of Josh, but he is so poorly fleshed out I thought for certain he was going to be revealed to be a hallucination.
“…refreshing to see someone willing to lose themselves in their character…”
Klariza Clayton as Liz, on the other hand, does a wonderful job of creating a tortured shut-in. She embodies the fidgety, terminally depressed Liz. Clayton is clearly an attractive young lady, but she and the makeup department go out of their way to play to the reality of her situation. She’s pale, gaunt, has acne, bites her lip constantly, and has a permanent slouch. Her character isn’t just a collection of physical ticks though; everything about her feels genuine and authentic. It is refreshing to see someone willing to lose themselves in their character like that.
Now as bad as act 2 was, act 3 of Suicide Club was way worse. We get the big reveal of the Suicide Club, who they are, what they want, and why they’re doing what they’re doing. And that just makes the whole film make less sense. We then get a standoff followed by a generic punch em’ up, followed by an inspirational (?) blog post by Liz. Roll credits
Suicide Club isn’t a bad experience because it’s a bad film, it’s a bad experience because it could have been a great one.
"…an agoraphobic and suicidal young woman discovers an online community that promises death..."