Two films in, and I am still impressed with Warner Brother’s new Raw Feed line of direct-to-DVD horror films. As the direct-to-DVD market continues to grow, Warner’s has jumped out in front with their new studio. The first film, Rest Stop, deftly told the story of a woman stranded at a rest stop and terrorized by a local madman. An entertaining film, but certainly not a new premise.Sublime is a much more developed story, and a very involving film.
Tom Cavanagh from TV’s Ed and Love Mon…ey stars in a film that is much more psychological horror than outright terror. When George Grieves visits the hospital for a routine colonoscopy, all seems to be going well. When he wakes up, however, he discovers that the procedure was anything buy routine. I don’t want to give too much away, but I can honestly say that the film pulled me in early, and didn’t let me go until the last frame.
This is one of those films that is better than its marketing. It seems like studios get nervous when they make non-traditional films, so they market them as more mainstream productions. The cover art on this film makes it look like a cheap slasher flick, when in actuality what viewers are treated to is much more cerebral than your average blood and guts picture. Fans of suspense films will enjoy this as well as horror buffs.
The audio here is good but not great. Dialog is clear and sounds great, but there is very little going on in the subwoofer department. This is mostly due to the fact that the score is so minimal, but it is noteworthy nonetheless. I should also mention that the surrounds are used very sparsely for a 5.1 audio track. Still, this is a film that is subtle by nature, and it would be out of place for it to have a soundtrack that was any different.
I hate to say it, but the video quality here is a little rough. There is quite a bit of grain throughout the film, which can be distracting at times. I also noted several instances of what appeared to be scratches on the original negative, which I found to be quite surprising on a direct-to-DVD film. Black levels look great, but the color is sometimes a bit off in the darker scenes. On the whole, the picture quality is decent, but certainly not up to the standards that I was expecting to find from a modern DVD.
Half the time, I don’t even get this many extras on films that were released in theaters, much less on a direct-to-DVD offering like this one. The big prize here is a commentary track with director Tony Krantz and writer Erik Jendresen. While it is a first commentary for both, they sound like old pros here, filling the film with lots of entertaining and interesting information.
Krantz and Jendresen also appear is a couple interviews that allow them the opportunity to speak more succinctly about the film. These interviews were clearly shot for the DVD release, and rise above the quality of the standard electronic press kit. The extras wrap up with a couple trailers and a segment called Surgical Exorcism: cultural anthropologist Dr. Falk’s webcast of a live surgical exorcism in the mountains of Peru that is nowhere near as cool as it sounds. Basically, this is simply an extended scene from the film.
I am really enjoying this film series. Both offerings have been great so far, which gives me a good feeling about the next one. Sublime would have made a great HBO original feature, and I mean that as praise. There are some minor problems with shoddy CGI that crop up here and there, but it is a small price to pay for an inventive horror film such as this one that is not afraid to take risks. Such a film, coupled with a nice complement of extras, makes this disc an easy “buy” for fans of the genre.
Special Features List
- Commentary by director Tony Krantz and writer Erik Jendresen
- Interview with Tony Krantz
- Interview with Erik Jendresen
- Surgical Exorcism: cultural anthropologist Dr. Falk’s webcast of a live surgical exorcism in the mountains of Peru
- Trailer gallery