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Cast: Tianna Nori, Mark Matechuk, Krista Madison, Rachel Sellan, James Murray, Porter Randell
The Sublet is a suspense driven psychological thriller about Joanna, a new mom coping with her baby alone in an odd sublet apartment. As her husband neglects her to focus on his career, Joanna questions her sanity as she discovers a violent past to the apartment and suspects that the building may be haunted.
"The Sublet" tells the story of Joanna and her husband Geoff as they look for an apartment for themselves and their baby. Right from the start you sense something is wrong when they go to look at the sublet and no one answers but the door seems to open by itself. They let themselves in and again when they get to their sublet which is upstairs no one is around but oddly enough there is furniture in the place, that itself would not be odd of course but it looks like the last tenants forgot to get their belongings like their pictures on the wall ect... There is also a room in the apartment that is locked, Geoff says it is probably storage for the landlord.
After the couple settle in, Geoff begins to spend a lot of time out of the apartment as he tries to advance his acting career which means Joanna is left in the apartment alone with their little boy. Strange things immediately begin happening like banging on the walls and knocking on their door. The longer time goes by the more Joanna begins to think there is something wrong with the apartment. She hears and sees strange things but she never sees anyone else in the building.
One day that locked door opens by itself, now that alone would have me packing my bags but instead Joanna goes in to find that it is a nursery with a rocking chair and a little hidden crib. There again are pictures on the wall which to me seemed really strange. At some point she finds a diary of someone who must have lived there before. It is written by a woman who complains about being left alone a lot and the longer Joanna reads it the more strange and disturbing the entries become.
This is around the time Joanna begins to really sink into madness, but is it all in her head from spending too much time alone or is the sublet truly haunted?
"The Sublet" isn't your typical Hollywood haunted house movie with lots of loud noises and jump scares in it. Instead it is a psychological thriller that I considered to be a slow burn, instead of the same old supernatural horror this one replies on its characters and story to lurk the audience in and I have to say it does a fantastic job at doing so.
The film is deliberately slow moving, it takes its time setting up the story and introducing us to the characters and after that it takes more time getting under our skin and inside our heads. The creepiness happens also immediately and the film becomes more sinister and frightening as it moves along. I am not going to sit here and say I didn't see the ending coming but on the other hand with all the clues the film gives away about the sublet's past I donít think the filmmakers were trying to really hide anything either.
"The Sublet" is one of those films that gets inside your head right from the start, everything about it reeks of isolation and fear, the apartment makes for the perfect setting for such a story. With a story and character driven film like this you need actors that are going to be able to bring these complex characters to life and they hit the jackpot with the cast here. Tianna Nori who plays Joanna won Best Actress at the Blood in the Snow Canadian Film Festival and for good reason. She really takes her fragile character and runs with it giving one of the best performances I have seen in some time. Mark Matechuk is also terrific as her husband, the two have great chemistry together and they make it very easy for the audience to feel for them. The rest of the supporting cast did a great job as well.
This is one of those horror films that keeps you glued to the screen the entire time, you are frightened but you can't look away either. The film has it all, suspense, tension, drama, mystery and a thrilling ending. Director, John Ainslie does an amazing job telling the story which he also wrote with Alyson Richards. It is a small film that takes place almost entirely inside the apartment but it is so well written, acted and shot. I highly recommend the film to all fans of horror. If "The Sublet" doesn't give you the chills you might not have a pulse.
Released by Black Fawn Films/Breakthrough Entertainment
**** 1/2 Out Of *****