Let’s hope that Subject Two was just an experiment. The film written/directed by Phillip Chidel which stars Christian Oliver and Dean Stapleton in a story where medical student Adam (Oliver) volunteers to be repeatedly killed as part of the resurrection experiments of one Dr. Franklin Vick (Stapleton) at a snowbound cabin. It is billed as a new examination of the Frankenstein legend, whereas the doctor embraces his creation rather than rejecting it.
Now that that is out of the way, Subject Two was one of the most disappointing and just plain boring viewing experiences of my life. I admired it for the fact that it truly was independent (and it showed), but that’s not where my main qualms lie. My problems with this film lie mainly in the acting, the horrendously repetitive story and the terrible appearance of this film. It is in my belief that if you’re going to make a movie where the bulk of the story is about a man getting killed and resurrected constantly throughout the movie, then the audience HAS to care about the man being killed. This couldn’t be farther from the case of Subject Two. The main character Adam has no appealing qualities to the viewer, with the only attempt being a slight relationship that develops with a girl that gives him a ride to the top of the mountain at the beginning of the film. This girl character is the only hope in this film for some kind of reaction but instead she is forgotten about, with only a slight reference to her phone number.
If Adam’s character had maybe had some sort of back story that made the audience care about him then maybe this movie would be worth something, but instead he is shallow and empty. Another thing that really bothered me was how Adam and Doctor Vick’s accents seemed to change throughout the film. It almost seemed that Chidel was trying to say that if you are killed and resurrected, you have a 50/50 chance of waking up with a Russian or English accent. Speaking of Doctor Vick, his character was also horribly underdeveloped. Whereas in a tale like Frankenstein, the mad scientist had presence, this tale’s doctor is this wacky cabin-dwelling man whose motive and feelings couldn’t be more unclear. Then there’s the “twist”, I am not going to reveal it, but this might be the only thing this movie has going for it, and the actor involved in this development is the only one who shows their acting chops. It’s far from genius and it by no means saves the movie but I must admit that was the only part I was interested in.
As stated before, this is truly an independent film and it shows, but the use of an HD Cam is almost inappropriate. This is a movie where the viewer NEEDS to care about the characters and the HD cam makes everything look like a soap-opera. I say kudos for embracing new technologies but the look of this movie is just way off. It’s nice to see a really independent horror movie get noticed and even get into the Sundance Film Festival 2006, but I can’t see this one getting much farther than that. If you’re interested in the Frankenstein legend, or if you really want to see why it was accepted into Sundance, then check it out, but after my experience watching this thing I almost had to be resurrected from boredom and a complete lack of caring.