Saturday, April 23, 2016

SUBMERGED (2015) (Blu-ray Review)


Label: Scream Factory I IFC Midnight 

Release Date: May 3rd 2016
Region Code: A
Rating: Unrated
Duration: 98 Minutes 
Audio: English DTS-HD MA 5.1 with Optional English Subtitles 
Video: 1080p HD Wscreen (2.35:1) 
Director: Steven C. MIiler
Cast: Giles Matthey, Caleb Hunt, Cody Christian, Denzel Whitaker, Rosa Salazar, Jonathan Bennett, Mario Van Peebles, Talulah Riley, Tim Daly, Willa Ford

Synopsis: In Submerged, Jonathan Bennett (Mean Girls) stars as an ex-soldier turned bodyguard hired to protect a young woman. But while cruising with a group of friends one night, their stretch limo is run off the road and into the water by a gang of ruthless kidnappers — who then dive in to finish the job. Suddenly it’s sink or swim, as the bodyguard must fight to keep the vehicle from becoming a watery grave.

Steven C. Miller has been pumping out some decent horror-thrillers for a few years now after his debut feature film - the micro-budget high energy zombie movie Automaton Transfusion (2006), and this thriller might be his most accomplished entry to date, though I do love his remake of Silent Night, Deadly Night, a movie which comes up short when compared to the weird original, but is a fun slasher watch just the same. 

Submerged (2015) starts with a high-tech limousine plunging into a deep canal, the driver Matt (Jonathan Bennett) is trapped in the front with a young woman named Jessica (Talulah Riley), who is the daughter of his wealthy employer and also Matt's love interest in the story. Trapped in the back of the limo are a group of Jessica's somewhat annoying friends who begin to panic and argue amongst themselves as the limo begins to take on water and the air begins to thin. 

The movie narrative flashes back throughout which gives us some back story prior to the plunge into the water, we find out that Matt is a former Army Ranger and a bad ass in hand to hand combat. The group were at a nightclub earlier in the night when they were engaged in a fight with some locals, Jessie's dad is a local businessman who just cut hundreds of job in the area, which puts a target on his his daughter's head. After leaving the club the group are attacked by two armed gunmen in a SUV and run off of a bridge which then plunges into a canal, where the limo sinks to the bottom and begins to take on water, all the while being slowly dragged out to the open ocean by the undercurrent of the tide. 

Miller's movie is tightly knit and well-spun, the claustrophobic panic and action keep things moving along at a brisk pace, the back story is kept to minimum and the underwater action takes a front seat, with only a few narrative flashbacks involving Matt's brother slowing down the pace. The drama and action in the limo is fun as the cast begin to panic and throw around accusations all the while they have to deal with the fact they they are trapped in a limo underwater being dragged out to sea and running out of air,, which is a scary scenario. Miller amps up the threat by sending down a team of scuba-diving assassins to further complicate things for the occupant. 

The cast does a fine job throughout capturing the panic of the situation, most are not of the likable variety in my opinion, and none are too developed, but they get the job done well enough. We also have appearances from Tim Daly of the TV show Wings as Jessie's father and Mario Van Peebles of Jaws: The Revenge (1987), who unfortunately does not have a Jamaican accent in the movie. Submerged is tightly woven, well-shot and a decent thriller> While it didn't truly wow me with action and suspense it was a good watch, a movie I could watch with my wife who hates horror and one that didn't bore me. 3/5