Let's be honest.
We're on like day 17,000,000 of social distancing. For some of us, that probably means we haven't seen people, real actual people, in like 17,000,000 days or at least it feels that way.
If you're like me, you're likely sitting at your computer in your underwear eating Oreos and sipping on some sort of energy drink because even though you've barely gone outside for 17,000,000 days it takes every ounce of energy you have just to continue to have the will to live.
You've watched every single film on Netflix and Amazon Prime. You've watched every season of Schitt's Creek twice because that Schitt is funny. You've re-watched all the Harry Potter films and finally accepted that they're pretty crappy films that spent more on toilet paper than you'll make in your entire life. You've re-watched all the Sharknado films and realized that Tara Reid was a bad actress in the first one and subsequently got worse.
You're probably looking for a reason to continue living by this point.
Subferatu ain't it.
Subferatu won't restore your faith in humanity. Subferatu won't be the reason you decide to wake up tomorrow morning. Subferatu won't numb the pain from 17,000,000 days of solitude surrounded by the soul-crushing guilt trip that comes when you venture out to pick up a box of Hostess Twinkies.
Subferatu will, however, make you laugh. If you're demented like me, or just desperately in need of human contact or simply just tired of lying in your own body fluids, Subferatu will be like the cinematic warm feeling you get when that stream of urine runs down your leg because you're lost in an energy drink fog and simply unable to get up from the couch.
Not that I know that feeling, of course (I do).
Subferatu is a weird film for weirdos. It's a late night B-movie kind of a film that knows it's a late night B-movie kind of a film and chooses to relax and enjoy itself. If you're in that space, and you tend to get that way after 17,000,000 days alone, then there's a pretty good chance you'll enjoy Subferatu. If you're not in that space, well, you'll probably just change the channel and watch Sharknado 5 again and find yourself asking "How could this have really happened to Clay Aiken?"
For the record, every single actor in Subferatu does a better job than Clay Aiken does in Sharknado 5.
The story in Subferatu, not that the story matters a whole lot, centers around a submarine at sea that stumbles upon a group of shipwrecked Americans. We meet this submarine crew in the film's opening scene and it's obvious that something ain't right here. Stuck in some sort of time warp, the sub is crewed by a bunch o' Nazis who believe World War II is still going on and the world is still at war.
It's kind of like a 1940's COVID-19 protest.
Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that there's also a vampire on board. I mean, you probably knew that since the film is actually called Subferatu.
It kind of makes sense for a film that doesn't really make sense.
I actually bought into the Subferatu vibe fairly quickly, giggling like a socially awkward schoolboy in the film's opening scene and giggling even more with each absurd pop culture reference to follow. Subferatu is kind of like a low-budget Airplane! or Naked Gun or any of those other satirical, stylized films that mine silly comedy for big laughs. Subferatu goes darker than most of them, but for the most part it works.
My faith in you will be lost if you don't get the pop culture reference in the main character's name, Capt. Gavin McCloud (I swear to you...I'm laughing hysterically right now!), who's played to stubing perfection by Mike Dooly, who kinda sorta resembles Nick Offerman and who has that same aura of "I'm both serious and funny. I'm seriously funny. Seriously." Dooly, perhaps more than anyone, gets the film's dual vibe and pulls it off sublimely. The rest of the ensemble cast is fine, but Dooly is super fine.
Michael Reed as Lt. Valentiner is absolutely terrific. Martyn G. Krouse rocks it as Commander Braunschweiger.
This reminds me. I'm hungry.
Chelsea Tolle is inspired as both Ellen and the Vampire, while Claire Webber shines as Scarlet.
There are others, as well, as writer/director Patrick Penta, who also has a small role here, has clearly communicated his vision for the film well and this ensemble brings it hilariously to life.
Craig Melville's lensing is solid throughout, while Kyle Wilson's original music bounces along nicely with the film's unpredictable rhythms. Tom Hillman's visual effects are goofy and charming and perfect within the context of a B-movie experience.
I mean, seriously folks. You've been isolated for 17,000,000 days. There's a little bit longer to go, though if your city is anything like mine you do have the option of a few misguided church options for ya' that have become infected by bad theology and ministers who erroneously think the church is that building they spent way too much money on.
Step away from Sharknado 5. Watch Subferatu instead starting May 1st when the film arrives on streaming/VOD.
Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic