Due to the the intensity of the reaction to this film by fans of the horror genre (who are so disturbed as to spoil the story in their reviews) I thought I'd throw this in, for what it's worth:
SUBLIME was an experiment on nearly every level. Raw Feed is a Warner Bros. experiment to make "horror" films within the BROADEST definition of the genre. Films designed to be released directly to DVD.
John Shiban, Tony Krantz and Daniel Myrick would each make a film in 15 days for a budget of roughly 1.5 million dollars. Any one of them essentially could do whatever they wanted to do - to play into the genre, to satirize it, to bend it. Mr. Krantz's notion was to take the present atmosphere of fear and doubt that has pervaded our world; the very real statistics about "health care"; and the horror of the Terry Schiavo case, and make a movie.
My involvement in the film came out of my close friendship with Tony. Inspired by an Ambrose Bierce short story "An Occurence at Owl Creek Bridge"...the mystery of coma consciousness...the idea that when you close your eyes, your visual experience is limited to what you can remember...we crafted the script.
Trying to capture our version of a fear-and-incident-inspired "coma consciousness" led to the film's intentionally languorous and lurid pace. It was a specific choice. Right or wrong, we were determined to stay true to George's vision: George is stuck in a 10-month-plus Persistent Vegetative State within which all of the things that he worries about manifest. His only respite is when he closes his eyes and remembers his "last supper"; and many of his coma-realities are inspired by incidental details experienced that night:
Is Jenny actually unhappy in spite of what he wants to believe by "looking into her eyes"? Is she going to leave him? Will his colonoscopy go wrong? Is his daughter experimenting with her sexual identity? Why is his son so fascinated by fear and evil? Is his partner going to stab him in the back? And what about the Unknown - the utterly unaddressed racism, abuse of minorities, and fundamentalist Islamic-terror that we've all been taught to fear? George is a version of a successful Everyman who worries about a lot without choosing to examine much.
He thinks it's enough to look in someone's eyes to know their truth. Well, clearly, it isn't.
And what happens when you lose complete control of your destiny and are stuck in a world of fear made manifest? Well, if your guardian angel happens to be a demon incarnation of "the dark unknown" who will guide you through a confrontation with your fears...that journey might just free you to make a tough decision and take control of your detiny again. And that's what George does, tragically, at the end.
As for the symbology of the film, it was governed by the myth-base of a white Anglo-Saxon Protestant - it's entirely Judeo-Christian. And we piled it on with a shovel. It's on the nose because it's familiar, learned pretty much during adolescence, and it's all that George knows.
It was extremely satisfying to indulge in the lurid Grand Guignol tradition of this film. Commercially, it was risky, because we were straying from the current tradition of the horror genre.
Shooting the film in 2:35, framing and pacing the story the way we did was utterly intentional.
Could it stand to lose 10-15 minutes for the sake of modern day attention spans? Sure.
Is its subject matter, approach and execution inappropriate for the "horror genre"? Possibly.
Sublime is more in the tradition of psychological thriller/horror. The Twilight Zone, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Angel Heart, Jacob's Ladder, Memento, Eyes Wide Shut.
Sublime is not a pleasant movie.
If it's an experiment that failed for some and succeeded for others, I'm glad. I'd much rather that the film inspired strong opinions - even dismissive ones - than just lie there like another derivative grade B grindhouse gore-fest.
Everyone involved in Sublime took a chance...and we're all very proud that we did. Five star proud.