20th Century Fox decided to give a bunch of filmmakers the chance to make a low-budget horror film (1.5 million a piece) with complete creative freedom. Each film will be released to cash in on the lucrative DVD market, where horror tends to fare much better nowadays than in the theater. The catch? They have to complete artistic freedom as long as as they "expands what horror means" or something like that. SUBLIME, from former 24 executive producer Tony Krantz, is the company's second offering.
SUBLIME is the story of George Grieves, a 40 year old man, successful and happy in his life who is about to into the hospital for a routine colonoscopy. Beginning with a simple scratch on his leg as they wheel him in for the procedure, George suffers a series of complications ranging from infection to actually having the wrong surgery performed on him. As he sits in his hospital to "recover," he begins to notice that not everything is kosher around the halls of the hospital. Rumors abound of unnecessary surgeries performed on immigrants, and there's the imposing black guy in the red bow-tie who's messing with George's IV and possibly murdering other patients...
Thomas Cavanagh of Ed and Scrubs fame plays George, and does an adequate job of getting across the fear and confusion of what's happening around him. Problem is, the movie focuses so much on atmosphere and mood (I guess there's a reason for it, but that's spoiler territory) that you're left wondering when you're going to get some solid plot instead of just going along for the ride. As the complications pile up you become more frustrated than anything else, and what eventually becomes the "surprise" ending is pretty obvious about halfway into the feature.
Interviews with Krantz in the bonus features of the disc talk about how the film is an allegory for America's involvement in Iraq, and how the George in the movie is George Bush, and how his fears and insecurities led him down a dark road that becomes harder and harder to get off of. Or something like that. As soon as Krantz went on his political bent, I started to drift off. Because he seems to make the mistake that a lot of people make with their "art" - namely that if the message is important, the product itself should be cut some slack. Unfortunately in this case the product comes off as a poorly written made-for television exercise that TNT or the Sci-Fi channel might do.
Or Fox, for that matter. SUBLIME has a few creepy scenes an a nice performance by Cavanagh, but aside from that take it for what it is - a moody little movie that substitutes real scares and story with flashy art direction and a message that better served in another film.