Review of Appropriate Flesh – Heather Graham’s Exaggerated Performance in Erotic Horror Thriller Involving Body-Swapping


There is some frivolous and sensual content in this film from experienced horror writer Dennis Paoli and director Joe Lynch, based on HP Lovecraft’s 1937 tale, “The Thing on the Doorstep.” Despite a strong performance from Heather Graham and some comical erotic thriller elements reminiscent of the 90s – such as billowing curtains on a warm summer night and a saxophone playing in the background during a sex scene – I found myself unsure of where to direct my attention.

Dr Elizabeth Derby, a gender-swapped version of Lovecraft’s original male protagonist, is a successful and content psychiatrist who is married to Edward, a devoted middle-aged man who takes care of her and likes to show off his fit physique. One day, Dr Derby must treat a troubled young man named Asa, who seems to have dissociative identity disorder. However, it is later revealed that Asa is actually possessed by a malevolent demon. The demon uses Asa’s body to seduce Dr Derby and eventually takes over her own body during their intimate encounter.

These wacky body swap transitions are signalled by the people involved doing much shuddering and gibbering, and Graham does a lot of eye-rolling crazy person acting during the subsequent scenes. The parts of the story involving Asa’s elderly father (Bruce Davison), whose character is also possessed, feel a little extraneous and – generally speaking – the comedy involved is probably best described as semi-intentional.