Reviewed by: Dave Murray
What's it about
When family man George Grieves (Cavanagh) goes into the hospital for a routine colonoscopy (which can be horrific enough itself!), he wakes up with a strange incision on his abdomen and many other strange medical maladies, trapped in a Twilight Zone version of an old hotel where everything is just a little north of twisted.
Is it good movie?
Not so much a horror movie as a deft medical thriller, Sublime is part of a new experiment by Warner Bros. to produce horror films that appeal to a wider audience. By that I'm assuming they mean the PG-13 crowd who are the target demographic of most studios producing genre movies these days, and as this movie shows, WB defines horror in the widest of terms. Intiguely written and superbly shot, this movie plays out like a long episode of The Outer Limits, which is not exactly in keeping with the excellently ghoulish DVD art. While I wouldn't call the movie horrifying or chock full of terrors, there are some genuinely creepy moments and plenty of disturbing medical paranoia.
Tom Cavanagh (from tv's Ed) puts in his usual fine performance as poor George, who has to deal with everything from an incompetent doctor, an extremely hot nurse, a murderous and speechy orderly and one nasty case of flesh eating bacteria (now that was sick!). Most of the other actors give stock performances, with the exception of Katherine Cunningham-Eves as George's nurse Zoe, and the ultra talented Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs as the insane and creepy orderly who keeps a tight leash on George's delerium.
The hospital itself is gorgeous, and the medical mysteries of George's mishaps are frighteningly realistic. Director Tony Krantz (a veteran of tv's 24) and Writer Erik Jendresen (who wrote some episodes of my favourite tv experience ever, Band of Brothers) create a plausible tale that is both entertaining and stylish.
On the down side, the script was a little predictable, and the big twist was a bit ho-hum. The thing is, this sort of premise has been done much better before and with creepier results (think Jacob's Ladder). The gore is hardly there (except for a wicked torture scene that surprised even me), and nudity is non-existant. The dream sequences are so hokey that they detract from what should have been a touchable sense of dread in this film. Simply put, there are so many controversial places they could have gone to with this one, but they didn't. Which was too bad, because with the horror amped a little more up into R-Rated land, this flick could have kicked some serious ass.
Video / Audio
Video: Widescreen anamorphic - 1.85:1.
Audio: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround) and subtitles in English, Portugese, Chinese and Korean.
Some pretty standard fare here, and one not so standard piece. We get the obligatory Audio Commentary as well as Interviews with the director and writer, which are entertaining in a behind the scenes sort of way, but what I really liked was the inclusion of the webcast of the Surgical Exorcism that George's sone watches during the course of the movie. Very cool and frightening stuff. We also get a Trailer for the flick.
And would somebody like to tell me what was unrated about this film? If this is unrated, then the rated cut must have been pretty damn weak. Shame on you, Marketing Department!
Sublime is a decent thriller that capitalizes on its creepy atmosphere and "What The F**k?" medical malpractice, but which fails to deliver any real scares. What does play out on screen is an entertaining story that, while not exactly keeping you guessing, at least keeps you interested. This could have been a much more horrific movie, and I can't help but feel that this whole WB approach to horror is outstaying its welcome. The last thing the world needs is more "safe" and broadly painted horror. However, as a thriller, it does play well.