What’s not to like?

by Nav Qateel

After a spate of alleged suicides occur at a tower block that acts as a halfway house for the insane, police begin to interrogate Suki, their only suspect. Dressed in an out-of-season Halloween skeleton costume, the young woman begins to tell them a story that no one in their right mind will believe.

Written by Dan Schaffer and based on his graphic novel, The Scribbler is the new low-budget film from director John Suits. Suits has produced some great indies in the past, like Extracted, Static (which he also edited) and more recently the wicked and painfully amusing Cheap Thrills.

The Scribbler boasts an impressive cast, especially when you consider the limited budget, with Katie Cassidy from the TV show Arrow in the lead role as Suki. Cassidy’s star turn undoubtedly elevated the film closer to her own level, never letting the low budget feel stop her from blazing through scene after scene.

With an extremely high IQ and suffering from multiple personality disorder, Suki has been in care since childhood. That is until Dr. Sinclair (Billy Campbell) decides to try his newly-developed treatment on her. Sinclair’s new procedure is called “Siamese Burn,” and is suspiciously like electric-shock therapy, only this therapy has a cool, if temporarily painful, side effect. If you’ve seen Luc Besson’s excellent fantasy romp Lucy, and enjoyed it, then there are enough parallels to be drawn from this movie that you should enjoy The Scribbler for the low-budget effort that it is. Siamese Burn is meant to “burn” away the extra personalities, leaving the patient with their original personality intact. Well, that’s what’s meant to happen.

The Scribbler
Directed by
John Suits
Katie Cassidy, Sasha Grey, Eliza Dushku
Release Date
19 September 2014
Nav’s Grade: B

Invoking an eerie similarity in look and feel to the Wachowski’s green-hued masterpiece The Matrix, only cheaper, The Scribbler opens on the aftermath of some big event that’s occurred at Juniper Tower. We then watch as Suki is aggressively grilled by Detective Monks (Michael Imperioli) with criminal psychologist Jennifer Silk (Eliza Dushku) sympathetically listening to Suki tell her crazy story. I could easily picture the character of Suki being played by Eliza Dushku only 10 years ago, but I digress.

As well as her main personality, Suki has another who’s known as the Scribbler. When the Scribbler appears she doesn’t speak and instead communicates by writing everything backwards. She writes everywhere, including the walls. Whenever she uses the Siamese Burn equipment, the Scribbler identity appears. But Suki finds time has passed that she can’t seem to recall, and worse, it always coincides with another death at Juniper Tower. What’s the connection? Is Suki killing off her fellow loonies?

There’s a colorful collection of loonball characters populating Juniper Tower. Like the always naked Emily (Ashlynn Yennie) who’s scared of clothing. Then there’s the pathologically possessive Alice (Michelle Trachtenberg) who’s taken over the stairwell. Ironically, Suki has a phobia about using elevators and soon finds out just how perilous using the stairwell can be thanks to Alice. Suki’s ex-boyfriend Hogan (Garret Dillahunt) has the apartment facing hers, and night after night Suki is witness to a parade of female residents paying Hogan a visit, as he scores with almost every woman at Juniper Tower. Garret Dillahunt (12 Years a Slave) had a fair amount of screen-time, and like Cassidy, powered through the scenes. There was even a talking bulldog. But it only seemed to speak to Suki.

Not being a comic-book reader, I can’t comment on how faithful the adaptation was. But with the author himself writing the script, one has to assume no one else could’ve done any better. Director John Suits has given us a film that’s a little bit different from the mainstream, and that in itself is something to be thankful for, especially when originality is at a premium. The cast do stellar work and the overall production looks fantastic. What’s not to like?