Written and Directed by #PatrickPenta
Indie Film Review by Jack Bottomley
I must admit to you readers that with Subferatu, for a good length of time I was debating my thoughts on it. Was it good or bad? The sheer insanity of the plot outline alone is worthy of admiration but I was sat there thinking is it intended to be as it is? A homage by way of parody to those kinds of questionable films we find in the small hours on the specific movie channels? Is it supposed to do for submarine-set vampire Nazi films what Sharknado did for sharks, tornados and a cavalcade of celebrity cameos? Or is it just misguided madness? Then, things started really gaining steam onscreen and I was taken back to what lead #MikeDooly said towards the start, “relax and just fucking enjoy the story”. And so I did...
Subferatu tells the story of a submarine that comes upon a shipwrecked crew of Americans, however all is not quite right here onboard, as it is crewed by a group of Nazis still believing it is WW2, and as past and present are somehow entwined, there’s also a vampire onboard to worry about too! When it rains eh?
Whether it’s the Nosferatu-laden opening credits or moments of Airplane style madness, there is something really quite reassuring about the nature of Subferatu. It took me a good halfway through the movie before I quite came to an agreement with it but love it or hate it, you’ll be able to sit through it and agree, that was certainly something! Starting off with a semi-explanation of its vampiric sub-plot, the film quickly moves on to its exploitation lampooning story of Nazis, bloodsuckers and macho men at sea stories (the kind that play out for seasons on those channels your dads and uncles usually like, with the assistance of a beer or two)!
Although it must be said, the film’s secret weapon is Capt. Gavin McCloud, played by #MikeDooly because while everyone onboard this batty U-boat throws themselves into it (looks like it was a lot of fun to make), Dooly does moreso than anyone. Like Leslie Nielsen in Naked Gun and Police Squad!, he plays it straight, unaware of how ridiculous he is being and he is very entertaining to watch throughout. Plus he gets the best lines without a doubt.
As the narrative pretty much leaps from one thing to another and initially you go from thinking its a complete mess to realising it is pretty much intended to be this madcap. Likewise with some of the wonky moments of effects and performances, this is turned up intentionally beyond the limit and as a result, while all over the place, it does entertain in its sheer dogged willingness to be completely downright nutty in the embracement of its own silliness, and to that point how it also embraces the stupidity of the movies it parodies.
The Allo Allo accents from one or two cast members, #CraigMelville’s flamboyantly lit cinematography, some goofy props, #Shwilson’s fun score that brings vintage sounds to modern time displaced zaniness, it’s all here and while #PatrickPenta’s script has a few jokes that land with a thud, it has others which work. In fact, come the last third of the movie, it hits its stride far better and makes you wonder whether it might have been better suited as a short. Admittedly it is rather bumpy at points and not What We Do in the Shadows but regardless there is fun to be had if you are willing to play along in the purposely OTT tomfoolery.
Subferatu is an uneven but agreeably ridiculous send up of B-movie exploitation horror and “movies for men” actioners, with a barmily fun performance by Mike Dooly. You know what, this one might grow on me I feel. Fun.