Movie Review - Suitable Flesh (2023)

by Emily


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Tags: movies 1, tg 1, tgmovie 1, MovieReview 1, tgtransformation 1
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https://www.imdb.com/title/tt21397580/

Country: United States 

Language: English

Type of story: Body Hopper

Sexuality: Villain becomes bisexual, protagonist doesn’t change.

Is the protagonist Transgender? No.

Nudity: Yes, brief.

How I watched it: I rented it on Amazon Prime for $3.99. (Watch Here

When I last watched it: February 23, 2024


Typically I’m not a fan of TG stories where it’s the villain doing the transformation.  I feel the best TF stories are told from the point of view of the person being transformed. But since this is a body hopper story, the main character does swap gender, for however briefly it was.


I wasn’t even aware the movie existed until a few months ago.  Let’s review “That Body Swap Slasher Flick with Heather Graham.”


My synopsis (spoiler-free)

Based loosely on HP Lovecraft’s The Thing on the Doorstep, Psychiatrist Dr. Elizabeth Derby (Heather Graham) is locked up in a psych ward for murdering someone and complaining that “he” is coming for her body. Her best friend and colleague Dr. Daniella Upton (Barbara Crampton) is now her doctor and is trying to understand what Elizabeth means and why she had a mental break. Elizabeth then tells the story about how she met a new patient, Asa Waite (Judah Lewis), who complains about out of body experiences and possible abuse by his father, Ephraim (Bruce Davison), and possible multiple-personality disorder.  This excites Elizabeth because this is her field of study. (“Finally, somebody bought my book!” I feel you, Dr. Derby.) But this situation isn’t what she thinks and she gets involved with the Waites and their ancient body-hopping demon.


* * Spoilers ahead * *


It turns out that Asa’s father, Ephraim is currently possessed by a body-hopping demon, and he’s eying Asa as his next victim. Asa tries to explain this to Dr. Derby multiple times with no success.  It’s not until the hopper takes over Asa and seduces Elizabeth does she finally see what’s happening.  But now it’s too late.  The hopper gets a taste of Elizabeth’s body and life and wants it, despite Elizabeth being married (“Shit, I’m married!” - The demon).


The transformation

The body-hopping demon is able to swap into their victim by reciting an ancient spell. The first time we see this, Asa’s father calls Asa and recites this phrase over the phone.  We then see Asa fall to the floor in convulsions. His limbs contort in strange ways.  But then it stops and Asa - now the hopper - has a different personality.  This can happen three times. The first swap is quick - a minute or so.  The second swap lasts a couple hours.  The third swap is permanent.


The first time this happens to Elizabeth, she’s having sex with the hopper in Asa’s body.  As she climaxes the world spins, their bodies convulse; and for a moment she’s in Asa’s body, having sex with her body.  This only lasts for a minute at most.  When she swaps back, she’s confused about what happened.  She leaves to confide in Dr. Upton. Dr. Upton dismisses this “out of body experience” as guilt for cheating on her husband.


The longest swap is when the hopper calls Elizabeth at home.  They swap, and then we’re treated to the villain's point of view as the hopper in Elizabeth’s body. We need some gender-swapping tropes up in here, so the hopper grabs his new breasts and groin in pleasure. We get the only nudity of the movie when we’re teased with Heather Graham’s breasts. Then the hopper gets drunk and seduces Elizabeth’s husband, Eddie (Johnathon Schaech). Meanwhile, Elizabeth is chained up in a basement in Asa’s body.


Does this Movie pass the Bechdel Test? 

Yes. This movie provides two female protagonists.  But it gets iffy because their dialog revolves around an affair. In fairness, one of them is talking about a demon, and the other thinks she’s bat-shit crazy.  I feel using this test on a horror movie where all of the characters are shallow to begin with, doesn’t tell us much. I do think Heather Graham and later Barbara Crampton shine as the leads in this bizarre slasher flick. 


Gender and Sexuality: 

There’s really not much to say here.  I’m told that the source material The Thing on the Doorstep had much more to say about gender power dynamics.  This one is rather silent. Elizabeth never really experiences life as Asa. The hopper is actually fascinated with being in Elizabeth’s body.  Apparently, he had never hopped into a woman before, and enjoyed having sex with Asa’s body and Eddie. I guess the hopper is bisexual.


How it ends

Elizabeth tricks the hopper using hypnosis, then pushes him out an upper-floor window. Then she runs over him with her car, multiple times.  Then, if that wasn’t enough, she stabs him repeatedly until the police arrive. Spoiler - that’s still not enough.

In the present in the psych ward, Elizabeth is done telling the story and begs Dr. Upton to destroy the brain of Asa’s corpse.

The hopper, who is still in Asa’s mangled corpse, is on the table for his autopsy when he wakes up and recites the phrase one last time.  Dr. Upton witnesses Elizabeth’s final swap with the hopper.

The final act of the movie is a struggle between Dr. Upton and the hopper in Elizabeth’s body as they swap with each other multiple times.  At the end, Asa’s body finally dies with Elizabeth in it.  Elizabeth’s body is thrown back into the psych ward, and Dr. Upton is free to go.  It’s revealed that the hopper was successful and is now in Dr. Upton, and it’s Upton who is trapped in confinement in Elizabeth’s body yelling and pleading that she wants her body back.


Random Notes:

  • Nowhere in the movie is the hopper referred to as a “hopper.”  That’s my doing. They don’t even name the being. Online in IMDB and Wikipedia and discussion groups he’s referred to as Ephraim (Asa’s father’s name) because Ephraim is the villain in The Thing on the Doorstep.

  • The mortician was creepy as he and Dr. Upton examined the body.

  • The curse works over the phone, as we’re shown that the hopper uses his phone and 5G to hop into his victims.  Get your tinfoil hats out, people!

  • I did the classic horror movie spectator yelling at the screen. “No! Don’t do that! What’s wrong with you!” When Elizabeth decides to visit the Waite residence after work. Alone.

  • Elizabeth performs what I call “Chekov’s Hypno-session” for a patient that has a big impact on the climax.

  • I’m left wondering if the hopper is able to put people under his spell before the swap.  Elizabeth is in a good marriage and has a good job, and yet has erotic dreams of Asa and is lured to his house to have an affair with him.  Is this Asa’s doing, or is Elizabeth in a boring marriage?

  • When the hopper kills Asa in Mr. Waite’s body, he cuts off his head.  And the head pleads for Help.  WTF? Don’t you need lungs to speak? Not if you have a demonic MacGuffin.

  • Elizabeth comes clean about the affair to Eddie.  Naturally Eddie is pissed. She wants to make it up to him, but doesn’t get the chance as that’s when the hopper swaps into her.  When Elizabeth finally swaps back, Eddie starts smoking and admits that they had pretty rough role-play sex and is interested in more of that.

  • The ending in the psych ward was your classic body swap “Which one is the real one?” fight scene.

  • I liked the use of the car’s backup camera when Elizabeth is attempting to kill the hopper.

  • Alright, alright. How in the world is Asa’s body still alive after falling from multiple stories, getting run over by a car multiple times, and getting repeatedly stabbed? He wakes up on the autopsy table!  Then after the swap, Elizabeth is in Asa’s mangled corpse, grabbing and clawing her away across the floor.  Gross.  Again.  How is she still alive?  Thankfully Dr. Upton gives her a mercy kill.

  • This barely qualified as a TG/TF movie.  Sure Elizabeth was a man… for a total of five minutes.  But then she was in a mangled male corpse and was quickly put out of her misery.  Sure, the hopper is now in a woman’s body. But only one scene of this movie is told from his point of view.

  • So how do you kill the hopper? Elizabeth, in a psychotic rage, claimed she had to destroy the brain.  But then why didn’t she?  She was stabbing his body - not his head. And what was the point of the hopper decapitating Ephraim’s body and not destroying the head? And what did it matter?  At that point the demon was in Asa, and the Ephraim’s body-less head was Asa, a normal human, who can now plead for help without having a voice box or lungs to actually plead for help.

  • This movie teases more lore with the book of spells and the weird octopus thing. How old is the hopper? Surely Ephriam isn’t the first body he’s been in right? There was a moment when Asa claimed that Ephriam isn’t his father anymore.  So that almost implies this happened recently. None of that is explored beyond set dressing.



Overall impression

It was much more gory than The Skin I Live In. So, I don’t know.. Maybe it could’ve used some more jump scares or something.  And as I said at the beginning of this, it barely qualifies as a TG/TF movie.  It has one scene where the villain is a woman and has sex. So if you’re looking for a movie to do anything meaningful with gender swaps - this really isn’t it. If you’re curious, I won’t stop you from watching it.  Heather Graham is still awesome though.


Is this worth $3.99?

Eh.  I don’t know.  If you’re watching it with friends, sure.  Cheesy B-movies like this are best viewed with friends when you can make fun of it. One of my fondest memories is watching Paranormal Activity with my roommate and her boyfriend, and my roommate leapt off the couch to try to save a character on screen. Classic.


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Emily

Hi, I'm Emily and I'm writing Gender Transformation Fiction! This site is a place for me to keep all of my stories in one place. I'm also a software developer in the daytime, so this site will also be a proving ground of cool new features that pop into my head. Feel free to message me on Twitter or at my Discord Server! You can also find me on TGStorytime.com and FictionMania.tv.

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marter

I'm not a fan of horror movies where the monster/killer/antagonist wins. It's too depressing for me
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Emily

I actually find it too predicable. So many horror flicks end with a "twist" that the villian got away/succeeded/killed the MC. It's almost to be expected at this point, so i consider it lazy writing.
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marter

Yeah they always want to set up a sequel bait ending. I just find that the villain winning is too much like real life for me.
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