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Submerged (Blu-ray Review)

SubmergedA limousine joyride goes berserk in the breathless, pulse-pounding thriller Submerged.  This anxiety-inducing film makes its Blu-ray and DVD debut May 3rd, 2016, from Scream Factory, in conjunction with IFC Midnight. Fans can pre-order their copies now from ShoutFactory.com.  Jonathan Bennett (Mean Girls) stars in Submerged.   This edge-of-your-seat thriller, directed by Steven C. Miller (Silent Night, Under the Bed), also stars Cody Christian (TV’sTeen Wolf), Talulah Riley (Thor: The Dark World), Rosa Salazar (Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials), Tim Daly (Diner) and Mario Van Peebles (New Jack City).

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Film Dex-1Dex-1Dexter-0Dexter-0Dexter-0

An ex-soldier turned bodyguard is hired to protect a young woman. But while cruising with a group of friends one night, their stretch limo is run off the road and into the water by a gang of ruthless kidnappers — who then dive in to finish the job. Suddenly it’s sink or swim, as the bodyguard must fight to keep the vehicle from becoming a watery grave.

Submerged has a pretty novel and good hook to reel one in to viewing.  A limo trapped underwater and we’ve got to watch as our hero and his group make it out before the either lose all their are or the water caves it in.  Throughout we are treated with flashbacks of what led them up that point, fitting it in with a storytelling motif we are all pretty familiar with.

What doesn’t help Submerged out are a few factors.  First off, the film is pretty badly acted.  Mario Van Peebles, Tim Daly and Willa Ford may be in the credits, but I’d be surprised if either performer did more than a day’s work.  Our lead actor is especially terrible.  Steven C Miller under and overacts his way through this thing.  If you’re wondering why the guy didn’t take off after Mean Girls or you never see him in movies much, look no further than this film.  Don’t even get me started on our mystery villain at the end of the film.

The direction doesn’t give a leg up on the film either.  Aside from trimming this to a shorter film, the movie just isn’t crafted in a way that is incredible interesting.  Its pretty static and looks and plays just like every other horror/thriller indie film.  Don’t get me wrong, please, this isn’t a hack job or terrible from that perspective.  Its fine, its just very safe.

Some may end up finding this movie better than myself, but I rather doubt anyone is going to find it to be great.  If you’re interested, I’d wait up for it to pop on to a streaming service.  If you really, truly love it, than I guess pick it up.

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Video Dex-1Dex-1Dex-1Dex-1Dexter-_5

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio

Clarity/Detail:  Detail is pretty strong, as is par for the course on a modern title done by Scream Factory and IFC Midnight.  The image is crisp, sharp and full of some rich detail.  Even in darkly lit sequences, this one still manages to shine with plenty of texture.  Well lit scenes do even better.

Depth:  Some good depth work here.  Characters and objects are free and the ocean feels its deepness.  Movements are smooth for the most part but contain some blur during a minuscule amount of sequences.

Black Levels:  Blacks are plenty deep.  During dark, underwater sequence, there can be a little bit of crushing notice when the light is shining around the depths of the ocean.

Color Reproduction:  Colors are pretty pronounced when need be.  The limo features lighting of reds, blues, purples and teal to a strong vivid degree.  

Flesh Tones:  Skin tones are natural and stay on point with that throughout (aside from the obvious filtered scenes).  Details like stubble, water beads, makeup, wrinkles and the like show good on characters’ faces in close-ups and medium shots.

Noise/Artifacts:  Clean

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Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, English 2.0 DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English, Spanish

Dynamics:  Submerged carries a 5.1 track that feels nice and loose.  All of its environments sounds genuine and have an accurate depiction.  Specifically the underwater car scenes carry a nice feel of realism to them when your system is cranked.  While it doesn’t make much of a case to demand 5.1, the work this track does is still more than solid.

Low Frequency Extension:  Guns, engines, doors slamming and underwater hijinx all carry some weight in the subwoofer’s mix.

Surround Sound Presentation:  Rear speakers tend to be used to bring in ambiance as well as some of the score.  Front channels portray an accurate depiction of onscreen action.

Dialogue Reproduction:  Dialogue is clear and discernible.  A little lower than normal in the mix and is over done by the score and effects in parts.

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Extras Dexter-_5Dexter-0Dexter-0Dexter-0Dexter-0

Submerged comes with reversible cover art featuring an alternate poster design.

Trailer (HD, 2:23) 

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Summary Dex-1Dex-1Dexter-_5Dexter-0Dexter-0

Submerged has a nice strong idea and concept to run with for its little thriller film.  However, due to some static direction, structure and poor performances from the cast, it doesn’t quite ever lift off or engage.  This Blu-ray has a great video presentation as well as very good audio.  Its basically a bare bones title as the only bonus available is a trailer.  Definitely a rental or curiosity pick on your streaming service at best.

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Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com) on the Creative Zombie Studios Network. At Why So Blu he is a Writer/Reviewer. Brandon is a lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash. You can also find older essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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