Starring: Trent Haaga, Brandy Little

Director: Jon Keeyes

Synopsis: A seemingly perfect couple, who share a love for serial killing and
cannibalism, turn the knives on each other once their storybook marriage
begins to fall apart.


Charles and Deborah Rosenblad, the main characters in Jon Keeyes’ film
Suburban Nightmare, are the all-American couple, upwardly mobile yuppies
who have the nice house, the nice car, the well-mannered child, just about
everything. They may be the couple next door. If they are, run like hell,
because Charles and Deborah share a peculiar hobby: they like to kill people.
People they know, people they don’t know, hookers Charles brings home for
Deborah—anyone and everyone is a potential target for their sideline in thrill-
killing. Despite the similar title, and the presence of lead actress Brandy Little
in both films, in no way should Suburban Nightmare be considered a sequel
to the film that put Keeyes on the map, American Nightmare. This is very
much a two-character study, while the earlier film was an eclectic ensemble
piece. And there’s not quite as much suspense in Suburban Nightmare: we
know who the killers are from the very first scene, and we aren't really all that
invested in whether or not their victims will survive or not.

It’s the killers’ story, and it’s their gradual, mutual decision to turn on one
another that provides the film with its psychological depth. Although we can
guess at any number of possible outcomes to their story, Keeyes manages
to keep the viewer guessing until the last, blood-soaked scene.The lovers-
who-kill angle isn’t exactly a new one: from Bonnie and Clyde to Mickey and
Mallory to Jigsaw and Amanda, pop culture is rife with examples of men and
women who find that murder is an aphrodisiac. Charles and Deborah would
be nothing more than weak riffs on commonplace themes without totally
committed work from the leads, Trent Haaga and Brandy Little, both veterans
of the horror/suspense genre, and both dedicated to making their psychotic
couple as realistic as possible. Haaga, particularly, well-known as a comic
actor with more than a passing resemblance to Steve Buscemi, really shatters
his existing image from horror/exploitation titles like Citizen Toxie: Toxic
Avenger IV and Zombiegeddon.

He gives Charles an authentic range of emotions, and even when he is doing
really awful things to other people, we still feel for the character’s domestic
frustration and helplessness. Haaga is always a solid performer, and
Suburban Nightmare shows we can continue to expect great things from this
versatile actor/writer/producer. Keeyes’ movies always include great sounds
from the Dallas/Fort Worth/Austin indie-music scene, and Suburban
Nightmare is no exception. Frequent musical collaborators Ghoultown
contribute two songs, and the band Eden Automatic provide a thoughtful,
low-key song that contrasts strongly with the film’s blood-thirsty subject
matter. Suburban Nightmare isn’t a typical slasher movie, despite the genre
pedigrees of the leads and the director: it’s equal parts American Psycho and
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, and it takes its time in setting up the main
conflict between the feuding couple. It may not be to every horror fan’s
taste, but patience and attention to detail will reward the close viewer with
two rich performances and a major, unexpected twist near the end of the

Overall: 7/10
Genres: Horror

Rated: R

Country: USA

Year: 2004

Runtime: 86 minutes

Studio: Highland Myst
Entertainment Inc.


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Review done by: Desert Screams
Online since: February 20th, 2006
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