When Jared wakes to find himself bound and alone, he desperately searches for an escape from the waking nightmare surrounding him.
Upon first viewing, you might expect "Subsurface" to be a stylised thriller. What we get instead is a deep and dramatic concept film that does a great job at addressing the topic of depression and suicide without spelling it out for the audience which is often done. Director Daniel John Harris has taken writer Kyle Patrick’ intriguing idea and visualised it onscreen to great effect.
The topic itself is one that needs to be done in a way that’s both delicate and genuine so as not to undermine the seriousness of the condition. What "Subsurface" does is create a convincing setting and situation that really gets to the core of depression and the sense of isolation, by placing our lead character in a cage that he can’t escape. This unique direction makes "Subsurface" an interesting watch and may connect with viewers not familiar with how it effects sufferers.
Interestingly, writer Kyle Patrick also stars in the film as Jared and does an exceptional job. Patrick puts it all on table yet knows where to hold back so as not to over perform. It’s refreshing to see a passionate writer/actor take on such a challenging story and excel in it. Luckily for Patrick, he had a superb director to help guide him through telling this story making for a great duo.
The production quality of the film is good and makes use of the single location well. Whilst it’s simple and lacking any character, it adds to the uneasy setting to place our character in. Finer details such as the flooded floor and solid walls really stand out and are used to great effect. Director of Photography Chris Murphy manages to keep the framing exciting and dynamic, including some striking shots that really sell this film.
Leslie Wickham’ score blends in with the visuals and performance seamlessly, making for a dramatic build as we reach the finale. The use of ambient sounds as opposed to a more classical touch was right for this film that already has an experimental quality to it. The sound design works incredibly well also and feeds into the story, elevating the production standard.
"Subsurface" is a great take on the human condition with its compelling visuals and captivating performance from Patrick. We would expect this film to do very well on the festival circuit…