Suburban Mayhem has some wickedly subtle dialogue

Katrina Skinner is stuck in suburban Australia with a young daughter, a supportive father and a brother in jail for a brutal murder.

Manipulative, self-centred and utterly without mercy, Katrina hatches a plot to kill her own father. Katrina is a fascinating anti-heroine to construct Suburban Mayhem around as her sheer immorality builds what could be an iconic figure; the problem is that she has been painted with such venom that there’s no humanity to her. That, combined with Emily Barclay’s vulgarly over elaborate portrayal, results in a character that has kitsch appeal but little else. In fact, the development of Katrina works best when she’s off screen as perspectives drawn from police and neighbours flesh out an otherwise one-dimensional figure with good effect.

To its credit, Suburban Mayhem has some wickedly subtle dialogue that raises a cynical smile or two, but that’s too little to save a film so slight in substance.

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