The Scribbler follows Suki (Katie Cassidy), a young woman suffering from dissociative identity disorder, as she attempts an experimental cure for the disease with which she if afflicted. The treatment Suki undergoes is known as The Siamese Burn – it goes through each alternate identity and kills them off systematically. As Suki’s alters are eliminated one by one, she starts to worry that her true identity will soon be deemed unwanted and subsequently eliminated as well.
The Scribbler is directed by John Suits (Breathing Room) and the screenplay is adapted by Dan Schafer (Doghouse) from his graphic novel of the same name. Suits turns in an impressive performance at the helm and Schafer does a great job of adapting his graphic novel for the screen. Though it isn’t straight horror, The Scribbler definitely has horror overtones and plenty of stylized violence. It’s the kind of grindhouse-laced action film that will likely appeal to horror fans.
The story is exceptionally creative. It goes in a variety of unique and unexpected directions makes you constantly question what is happening. Then, it ties everything together with an unpredictable conclusion that lets the viewer draw his or her own assertions but provides enough closure so as not to be frustrating.
My only complaint with an overall well-written script is that is sometimes feels disjointed because of the non-linear narrative. But that’s really just impetus to watch the film again to piece together whatever you might have missed the first time.
Katie Cassidy plays completely against type as does a lot of the cast. The fact that Suki is dark and moody makes her easier to relate to than the typical CW Network kind of roles that Katie Cassidy would typically play. Garret Dillahunt is totally unlike I’ve ever seen him before and it works. The characters are likable and relatable – they are flawed but interesting.
As for the effects, they are primarily digital but they are really well done and I don’t know that the same stylized aesthetic could have been achieved practically. They aren’t the kind of crappy CG that takes the viewer out of the picture. They are very well-done and make a good case for the use of digital FX in moderation.
In addition to great effects, the fight scenes are intense and well-choreographed. They play very effectively with speed and sound and create an intense and exciting viewing experience. Katie Cassidy is really impressive as she does battle with her adversaries.
The film plays around with the concept of found footage a bit, by way of inserting some surveillance footage but the core of the story is told through a more conventional approach. There is some great camerawork at play here. It’s nothing revolutionary but the cinematography takes basic filmmaking techniques and splices them together in a way that is very visually stimulating.
Though I would like to have seen a more vibrant color palette from a graphic novel adaptation, that is entirely personal preference and not an actual flaw of the film. The cinematography is beautiful in spite of not utilizing a lot of color. It’s just very dark and uses a lot of muted colors as opposed to a color palette that stands out but as I said, that is just an issue of preference.
Unfortunately, the Blu-ray release is bare bones. I would have loved to see some featurettes, a commentary track, and a look at how the effects were created. The home video release comes with the special feature that is a theatrical trailer and that is literally it. If you haven’t seen The Scribbler it is worth a look.
WICKED RATING: 6.5/10 [usr 6.5]
Title: The Scribbler
Director(s): John Suits
Writer(s): Dan Schafer
Stars: Katie Cassidy
Release: October 21, 2014
Studio/ Production Co: XLrator Media
Length: 90 Minutes