Monday, November 06, 2006

Subject Two (2006)

The Arctic location of this serious-sided quasi-Frankenstein tale is appropriate, as the film moves as though it's encased in ice. Writer/director Philip Chidel deserves credit for attempting a novel approach to the genre; unfortunately, his dubious approach involves a total lack of incident. It takes the narrative about fifteen minutes to bring together rebellious med student Adam (Christian Oliver) and messianic doc Vick (Dean Stapleton), who is working on a serum that can regrant life to dead tissue, and it takes another five minutes for Vick to dispatch Adam so that he may become the titular test subject. After resurrection, Adam must eventually be re-killed so Vick can test the serum further, and the remaining hour-plus is comprised of minor variations on this pattern of events. Once you've seen the setup, you've more or less seen the entire film. True, there are endless swaths of dialogue wherein Adam and Vick debate what they've done, what they're doing and whether it should be done (or at least whether Adam wants it done to him), but it's all stillborn pseudo-philosophical clumsiness, poorly delivered by inexpressive actors. (Oliver can at least fall back on the excuse that English isn't his first language, but no such allowances can be made for Stapleton, the dullest megalomaniac in cinema history.) There's a twist at the end, but it's too dumb to make the journey worthwhile. Subject Two is about as stimulating as watching snow melt.

Grade: C-


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