By Chaz Lipp
An interesting cast highlights The Scribbler, an adaptation of a 2006 graphic novel of the same name. Unfortunately, director John Suits wastes an intense lead performance by Katie Cassidy (daughter of David, currently co-starring on the TV series Arrow) in an unfocused non-starter of a thriller. The screenplay was penned by Daniel Schaffer, who created the original graphic novel, but apparently he couldn’t figure out how to shape a compelling story. Set in a rundown mental institution inhabited by a rogue’s gallery of colorful weirdos, Cassidy’s Suki and her multiple personalities are confronted by an alarming number of suicides occurring within the institution.
Suki is undergoing a form of therapy known as “Siamese Burn” intended to rid her of her extraneous personalities, leaving her with just one – her true self. Upon her arrival at the institution, the suicide rate goes up (the favored method: leaping from a high floor of the building to the street below). Fair or not, Suki is investigated by Jennifer Silk (Eliza Dushku) and Moss (Michael Imperioli) to determine whether or not she has had any involvement. Meanwhile, she’s being analyzed by shrink Sinclair (Billy Campbell) and interacting with fellow institutionalized residents Hogan (Garret Dillahunt, a regular on the series Raising Hope), Cleo (Gina Gershon), Alice (Michelle Trachtenberg), and Emily (The Human Centipede’s Ashlynn Yennie, providing the lion’s share of the nudity, for those interested).
One of Suki’s various personalities is known as The Scribbler due to her compulsive habit of scribbling text, all of it written backwards. The big problem in The Scribbler is a general lack of purpose. The obviously limited budget wouldn’t be a problem if only the story had more to offer. It’s not that there aren’t interesting visuals, it’s just that for the entire 90 minutes it feels like it’s heading somewhere – and then nothing much happens. Most of the supporting cast is given nothing to do (especially Gina Gershon and also The Big Bang Theory’s Kunal Nayyar). Michelle Trachtenberg is nearly unrecognizable and, worse yet, is asked to find a character in what is a pretty much a non-entity. Sasha Grey turns up in what is pretty much a cameo. Though I’ve not read it, perhaps Schaffer’s original graphic novel is a better usage of the time than this uninspired movie.
Images: XLrator Media