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Marina Antunes [Celluloid 12.07.15] Canada horror thriller

In the span of a few years Chad Archibald, Cody Calahan and Christopher Giroux have turned their passion for horror movies into a venture that has been churning out some fantastic material. Between them, the trio has been responsible (as either producers, writers or directors) for Monster Brawl (trailer), Exit Humanity (review), Antisocial (review), Septic Man (trailer) and Bite (trailer) to name just a few. Not a bad output though their latest production effort is one of my favourites of the batch: The Sublet.

The movie stars Tianna Nori, who really impressed me earlier this year with her performance in The Demolisher (review), as Joanna and Mark Matechuk as her husband Geoff. He's an actor trying to break into the business and she's on maternity leave and home with their newborn son. The current living situation seems to be a temporary arrangement while Geoff works to get a big movie role or a recurring series that pays enough for them to move but for the time being, they call a creepy furnished apartment home.

As you might expect from the words "creepy old apartment," The Sublet quickly evolves into a somewhat predictable haunted house style horror movie. There's a locked room that mysteriously becomes unlocked and is full of photos of women with babies, strange noises coming from various areas of the apartment, furniture that moves on its own and with each passing moment, the feeling that something horrific is going to happen. The movie is definitely predictable but director and co-writer John Ainslie is really good at building and keeping the suspense high and even though there are familiar beats, The Sublet is intense and more than that, lots of fun to watch.

A number of factors play into The Sublet's success; the editing by Jordan Crute keeps the pacing in check and the movie moving at a good clip, Nori's performance is largely understated but what I appreciated the most was the humour peppered throughout the movie.

By most stretches, The Sublet is a "slight" horror movie but it's effective at creating a mood of suspense, eliciting a few scares and doing so with little in the way of gore and jump scares, a real rarity that needs to be noted and celebrated. Ainslie is well aware that he's playing in familiar territory and he doesn't bother to re-invent the wheel, he simply executes the construction better than most.

It's not particularly subtle or scary but I really enjoyed The Sublet and its slightly naïve approach to horror which is so well handled it actually works. We'll be keeping a close eye on this one for distribution news.

Recommended Release: The Orphanage

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