The Sublet, 2015.
Directed by John Ainslie.
Starring Tianna Nori, Mark Matechuk, Krista Madison, Rachel Sellen, James Murray and 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.
Most horror movies depicting a family moving into a haunted house or apartment often rely on jump scares or ghostly imagery, but The Sublet subverts these expectations by making the story purely driven by character. The viewers are firmly placed in the main character’s shoes as the walls of her new home close in around her, causing us to question what is going on right by her side. The Sublet is a tense psychological tale that won’t fail to mess with your mind.
It’s very easy to sympathize with and understand Joanne’s struggle and motivations. She’s very relatable and that fact is only helped by Tianna Nori’s role as the film’s main character. Nori gives a great performance throughout the film, especially when one considers she spends much of it by herself. Much of her performance isn’t even expressed in what she says, but how she looks and what she does. She carries much of the emotional weight on her shoulders and is able to see it all the way through, making us genuinely care for Joanne’s safety and sanity.
The supporting cast is also great. Mark Matechuk does well as Geoff, Joanne’s increasingly pressured fiancé. Matechuk’s character is also relatable, but less so as the stress of his work and the supernatural apartment influences Geoff more and more. What he achieves is a rounded performance as a well meaning, but flawed, man. While Krista Madison doesn’t get much screentime as Margaret, the apartment’s resident ghost, her presence is felt throughout the film and gives an eerie, creepy vibe to Margaret and the apartment as a whole.
John Ainslie makes his directorial debut with The Sublet and shows an impressive eye for visuals. Ainslie displayed a lot of competency in regards to the cinematography over what or who exactly to focus on. He makes great use of the apartment’s small space, creating a sense of tension and claustrophobia as Joanne’s loss of control becomes more overt. Everything about the way The Sublet was filmed, from the cinematography to lighting, effectively made it feel very unsettling.
With the focus remaining solely on the characters and tension within the film, The Sublet succeeds in creating a creepy, psychological suspense film. It doesn’t just toy with your feelings, but dives right into them as you question what is and isn’t real alongside Joanne. Tianna Nori’s excellent performance helps makes Joanne’s journey into isolation feel earned by the film’s conclusion. With its great acting, themes and direction, The Sublet makes for an enjoyable and tense movie.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★ ★