The Subjects - Review
The Subjects, from director Robert Mond (Rendition), attempts to bring something new to the burgeoning superhero genre but ultimately falls short of the mark. The film is severely hampered by its overly explanatory script and diminutive running time (78 minutes!).
Eight strangers are brought together for a clinical trial of a new pharmaceutical drug. They're confined to a sound-proofed recording studio for 8 hours, but as soon as they take the drug, they start experiencing strange superpowers. One by one, they must learn to harness their new powers. AND of course everything is not as it seems ...
Much like their comic-book counterparts, the cinematic superhero genre is dominated by goliath franchises producing consistently entertaining films. Unfortunately, this puts a considerable and possibly unfair pressure on smaller films like The Subjects, which, given the relative restrictions of budget, talent and production, find it virtually impossible to compete. This film looks cheap, has limited production value and fairly shoddy effects. I can’t really recommend something like this when there are a plethora of big studios films worth catching. I’m certainly not an apologist for blockbuster fare; smaller films have their place. However, just like obscure independent comics, they need to be taking risks the bigger studios can’t. Sadly, The Subjects just simply doesn't do anything new.
Mond’s script has the unenviable task of developing eight characters in a very tight running time, the Pontypool (2008) or the shift in genre perspective of Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive (2011).
Annoyingly, there are some good ideas in this film which are lost in the mix. Despite it’s made-for-TV look and feel, the editing is sharp and Mond manages to present the action in a clear and concise manner: brief praise, I know, but it’s about the only positive thing I took away from the film. Whilst I didn’t enjoy the film, I’d happily see what Mond does next, he’s got plenty of potential that may be honed in a future offering.
The Subjects is available across all Digital platforms.