Plot: What’s it about?
Subterano is unlike any game of survival mankind has known, as men and women battle not for prizes, but for their very lives. As the authorities try to contain a rebellion, its leaders hunt down those who oppose the system. At this time, two of the hunted include Conrad (Alex Dimitriades) and Stone (Tasma Walton), who manage to find some shelter in an underground carpark. The numerous entryways and columns serve to hide them from their hunters, but other people also dwell in the shadows of this structure. Also inside the carpark is a security officer, an inebriated and disgruntled man, and four youngsters known as Ferals. Conrad found himself tracked because he escaped execution, but his current situation doesn’t offer much additional safety. The carpark is transformed into a multilevel prison of sorts, but this isn’t just a measure to hold those inside. Instead, the lockdown is to make sure they never escape, as a series of robotic assassins are unleashed. As the layout is just like the one in the popular Subterano virtual reality game, the band of folks is able to keep a step ahead at times. But when the attacks increase and come in varied forms, some casualties begin to accumulate. Can they somehow figure out the patterns and survive the attacks, or will they perish inside the hellish carpark?
If it seems like you’ve seen this one before, there’s a good reason, as Subterano takes a lot of cues from Cube. But while Cube was innovative and delivered on most levels, Subterano is little more than passing entertainment. And I use entertainment with care, since the thrills aren’t too frequent with this low budget project. The premise is fresh, but the story quickly follows Cube’s basics, though a number of new, but not as effective spins are put in for good measure. The inspiration is always evident, but like I said, the filmmakers have made sure this isn’t a total clone. As you’d expect from a low budget sci/fi movie, the special effects aren’t too impressive and the production values hover on passable. The locations lack the realism and attention to detail we’re used to, but all in all, the crew makes decent use of what resources were available. The video game slant is heavy here too, as if Subterano were made for a teen audience. But with all the profane language and mild violence, you’d think it was young adults as the main audience. Subterano is not a good movie, but it is brisk and passable, if just thanks to the colorful visuals. If you’ve seen Cube and wonder what it might have been like in a parking garage, then this is your flick. I would recommend Subterano as a rental, but given the lack of a proper presentation, not a chance.
Video: How does it look?
Subterano is presented in full screen, which crops the image from the intended 1.78:1 aspect ratio. This is made worse by the widescreen clips shown in the included featurette, which reveal some obvious loss of visual information. I have no idea why the choice was made to issue this in only a botched visual treatment, but it was a poor one and for an already limited interest title, that could mean even fewer sales. Aside from that however, the image is good and features some vivid, sometimes gorgeous colors. This film uses a rainbow of rich hues, each of which looks excellent in this presentation. No trouble with contrast either, while the print remains clean aside from some light debris at times. But without a proper widescreen presentation, all of that is worthless and Subterano loses its visual edge.
Audio: How does it sound?
The 2.0 surround option found here is solid, but unremarkable. I heard minimal surround presence even in high impact sequences, so if you want sheer power, this isn’t the soundtrack to showcase. The elements sound passable and even have some power, but restrained in the front channels, there isn’t much room to expand. So the sound effects have decent overall presence, just don’t expect an immersive experience. I found dialogue to be clear and crisp throughout, while the music is acceptable also. This disc also includes subtitles in English and Spanish, so if you need those, they’re here.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc includes a brief behind the scenes featurette, as well as the film’s promotional trailer.