Lurking In Suburbia

Lurking In Suburbia (2006)
Heretic Entertainment
Cast: Joe Egender, Ari Zagaris, Buffy Charlet
Extras: Commentary Track, Deleted Scenes, Trailers

"Lurking in Suburbia" opens with Conrad "Connie" Stevens, (Joe Egender) talking to the camera (a technique he uses during the entire movie) about how he is facing his upcoming 30th birthday in light of the belief that his very first girlfriend he had at age 14 screwed up how he currently deals with life and relationships.

Connie is a college graduate and a procrastinator. He is unemployed and has yet to finish the book he's been working on for almost a year, despite being given a break by a publisher. He likes to consider himself a writer but admits it is an excuse for not working a regular job because he'd rather be partying with his friends.

Connie's friends include, Sean, the oversexed guy with a mother complex, his best friend Danny, the ex football hero who lost his scholarship when he came out of the closet as being gay, and now at age 32 views his life in abject failure. We also have fast Eddie, a crazy dude and Frankie, a goodhearted girl who was kicked out of her home a few years earlier and managed to sleep with all the guys at one time or another. Then there's Lip, the non-english speaking owner of "the Palace," the huge house Connie shares with all his slacker pals.

The film follows Connie along on his birthday as he talks to us while dealing with his friends, strippers, assorted drunks and a few ex-girlfriends. He's searching for meaning, and somehow thinks things made more sense when he was a child instead of now where adults must make decisions in life.

I didn't really find a connection to the film's theme or its characters. Maybe this was in part because I never led the slacker lifestyle or had leeches for friends, or the fact that all of the characters were one-dimensionaly written as clichés that appear to have meaning – but it's all surface stuff.

"Lurking in Suburbia" was an official selection for many Indie festivals and though it's touted as being "hysterical and funny," I didn't laugh once. Not even a chuckle. I'm not saying it's a bad movie, just that it plays more like an observation flick with moments that are supposed to be funny to the viewer.

The DVD states the film is "Unrated." That is more of a amrketing ploy and the studio trying to save money to actually get the film rated, since there was nothing in here to warrant anything other than a PG-13, or even an "R-lite" if that.

"Lurking in Suburbia" is an independent feature film written and directed by Mitchell Altieri, and makes its debut on DVD in a 1.85:1 widescreen presentation that is enhanced for 16×9 TV sets. Although the transfer has flaws such as edge-enhancement, moire and minor jitter, none of this takes away from the viewing. Colors aren't as vibrant as they should be, but blacks are deep and rich. Flesh tone appeared well balanced.

Audio comes to us via a 2.0 channel Dolby Stereo soundtrack. This was quite sufficient since the movie is a dialogue-driven piece. Speakers were free from distortion and the center channel was clean.

The special features section is sparse and consists of 8 deleted scenes and 3 trailers. (One of which is for the feature itself) There is a commentary track featuring the director and cast. They share laughs and inside information on what it took to shoot the film. They used a lot of guerilla-style, had only an 8 person crew and shot around the clock for 15 days using a small handheld Panasonic camera. In light of the low budget and tight controls, as well as changing the script on the fly, I admit I was impressed with the overall look of the movie despite the flaws I mentioned earlier.

Even though I never really connected with the movie or its characters on an emotional or intellectual level, which it clearly is trying to do with its viewers, the film is far from being bad. If you ever had the type of friends or currently have such pals or ever found yourself in similar situations and facing dilemmas like the lead charactor does, "Lurking in Suburbia" may be a rental worth checking out.