The second effort in the "Raw Feed" series (a direct-to-video series of horror films produced by "Blair Witch Project"'s Daniel Myrick, former "X-Files" producer John Shibian and "24" exec producer Tony Kranz.) The first in the series was "Rest Stop", an uneven, straightforward horror picture from Shibian. Myrick's entry in the series, "The Believers", will be hitting store shelves later this year.
"Sublime" is the directorial debut of Kranz, and stars Tom Cavanaugh ("Ed", the underrated "Love Monkey" and, more recently, a recurring role on "Scrubs") as George Grieves, a normal guy who makes a good living in the IT industry and who will be going in for a routine operation at Mt. Abbadon hospital the next. When he wakes up hours after the procedure, the power is out at the hospital and George starts to notice some rather strange details. He cannot seem to find out exactly where his wife - who took him to the hospital - has went and there's also the matter of an unexplained scar on his stomach. There's also a young nurse Andrea (Katherine Cunningham-Eves) watching over him.
As a drugged George slips in and out of flashbacks, he begins to realize that he's locked into a situation he has little control over. Once he's moved into the formerly shuttered East wing of the hospital, it becomes clear that his outpatient proceedure may never let him out.
"Sublime"'s remains a bit slow throughout (moreso the first 45 minutes), but the second half begins to pick up a little as the walls start to close in on George, some twists occur and more parts of the film's mystery come to play. Those expecting a horror film will be disappointed in "Sublime", as the film functions more as a Stephen King-ish psychological drama/thriller.
The performances worked well for me, although this is largely Cavanaugh's film. Director Tony Kranz is able to take the kind of delivery that Cavanaugh brings to comedic roles and use it well throughout much of this dark drama. As the film becomes more intense in the second half, Cavanaugh handles the material just as well. It's an enjoyable performance that proves Cavanaugh is able to handle more than comedy.
Yet, while the film has moments, Cavanaugh's performance is solid and Kranz manages solid production values, the film feels sluggish at times, lacking focus and offering a close that doesn't really end the film well enough. Overall, this is mildly interesting picture that has some things going for it, but, as a whole, it just doesn't click quite often enough.
VIDEO: "Sublime" is presented by Warner Brothers Home Entertainment in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. Sharpness and detail varied throughout the movie and, while the presentation never appeared quite crystal clear, at least most scenes did appear crisp and moderately well-defined. Some minor artifacting was spotted in some darker scenes and some light edge enhancement was seen at times throughout the film, as well. Colors appeared intentionally a bit subdued, but looked accurately presented.
SOUND: The film's Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is suprisingly low-key. Surrounds occasionally are used for some slight ambience, but could have been used quite a bit more for creepy sound effects and atmosphere. Audio quality was fine, with clear dialogue.
EXTRAS: Commentary from director Tony Kranz and writer Erik Jendresen, trailer, interviews and "Surgical Exorcism" featurette.
Final Thoughts: Overall, this is mildly interesting picture that has some things going for it, but, as a whole, it just doesn't click quite often enough. The DVD offers fine audio/video quality and a couple of nice extras. Fans of moody, dark psychological drama/thrillers may want to try this one out as a rental.
The Film C+