Gruesome Gazette

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Typically, if you were to put on any found footage film in front of me I’m always a fan. Since I began watching them at such a young age, I find myself able to really immerse myself into them quite easily – especially with some of my favorites like REC & The Blair Witch Project. So last year when Bloody Disgusting was promoting a new film titled ‘Subject’ I knew I had to check it out.

‘Subject’ tells the story of Willem, a man whose riding in the back of a police transport van at the start of the film. It abruptly pulls over and we see a man in a suit open the back doors and ask for him specifically by name. Willem identifies himself and the suited man shoots everybody else dead. He is made an offer to come with him for an experimental sentencing in exchange for getting out of the traditional prison system. He accepts unknowing what lies before him.

Willem is locked in a room for an immeasurable amount of time where he has a television that broadcasts old memories of his and old movies, is given one egg to eat a day, and has no interaction with anybody besides a webcam, a few security cameras throughout the cell, and a scientist named Dalesky (played by the director Tristan Barr) who shows up once every couple days to put a shockpad around his forearm and ask him probing questions for a few minutes at a time. All this accumulates as he is slowly introduced to a neighboring “Subject” in a cell one room over. But this subject is heavily bandaged, has disproportionate limbs, and seems to enter his room at night.

The movie is an 80-minute long experiment in madness. Willem begins to break down and confess to his sins, while the Dalesky interrogates him to probe his psyche, while this creature-like subject exists in a room over and haunts him. But the movie doesn’t really do anything besides go back and forth between this dramatic projection and these very minimal glimpses of a sort-of monster. The ending is anti-climactic, the answers you get are not satisfying, the horror is predictable and too low-impact for the amount of slowburn you are put through, and ultimately it’s a boring chamberpiece (which usually I like). One man going insane – that we don’t have any connection or sympathy with – while he gets a shitty Babadook-ripoff monster attachment is not entertaining on paper, let alone stretched out for a full runtime.

I went into this thinking it would be a fun, psychological trip into found footage horror, but instead I kept checking how much time was left and hoping the monster would have more to do than stand at the edge of his bed and snarl at him for 3 seconds. While certainly not the worst thing I’ve seen in a while, it’s definitely forgettable and boring – another letdown 2023 release from the folks over at BloodyDisgusting & Screambox (I’m still not OK about ‘All Jacked Up & Full of Worms’…)

“Subject” is currently streaming on Screambox & Vudu.

‘Til Next Time,
Mike Cleopatra

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