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Reviews » Blu-ray Reviews » Submerged (2015) (Blu-ray)
Submerged (2015) (Blu-ray)
Shout Factory // Unrated // May 3, 2016 // Region A
List Price: $19.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by William Harrison | posted May 29, 2016 | E-mail the Author
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C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Skip It
E - M A I L
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P R I N T
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THE FILM:

Click an image to view Blu-ray screenshot with 1080p resolution.

You know, I knew that Submerged was going to be bad, but, still, I decided to review it. I was hoping this high-concept, low-budget thriller would be a surprise hit. It isn't. A limousine full of young folks crashes over a bridge and into a lake, trapping its occupants as the interior begins filling with water. This obviously gets the clock ticking on anyone surviving the ordeal. As the passengers try to get out, Submerged flashes back to moments in the characters' lives, some of which are not particularly relevant to the plot. What's the point? People are terrible and behave terribly toward each other, perhaps? Maybe, but Submerged is no psychological thriller. This is a giant bore with a gimmicky set piece, terrible acting, lazy direction and low production values.

Former Army Ranger Matt (Jonathan Bennett) is hired to protect a rich guy's daughter, Jessie (Talulah Riley). The movie opens with Matt in the driver's seat of the submerged limo, and Jessie and several friends are in the back. The rest of the movie is spent either inside the limo or back on land in flashbacks, which supposedly give clues about why the limo has met this watery fate. I hated everyone in the limo. They're all whiny, petty and selfish, and Submerged quickly commits a cardinal sin of filmmaking: If you do not care about any of the characters (or even hope they die), you'll never be invested in the plot. I certainly wasn't, and director Steven C. Miller does not seem concerned with ingratiating his unlikeable brood.

Submerged wants to be a crime potboiler, but it handles the side stories so poorly that these plot threads barely connect. Jessie's dad is, of course, involved with the overall situation and is a stock, greedy businessman. Mario Van Peebles also shows up, slumming it for a paycheck in the finale. Why Submerged spends a good chunk of time discussing Matt's brother, who either committed suicide or overdosed, is unclear. Were the filmmakers trying to make Matt a three-dimensional character? This backstory is totally irrelevant, and is only floated as an unnecessary explanation of Matt's choice to leave the Army and go into private security.

So much of Submerged is unnecessary. Like the incessant bickering in the back of the limousine. You're all going to die folks, does it really matter if your girlfriend screwed your best friend? Save that conversation for later. These are unlikeable, stupid characters who do nothing productive during the entire film. I wished for a great wave of water to rush into the windows and shut them all up. Awful acting, poor pacing and editing, and hands-off direction all contribute to the film's failure. Submerged is boring, annoying and ridiculous. Skip it!

THE BLU-RAY:

PICTURE:

The 2.35:1/1080p/AVC-encoded image is good, with plenty of fine-object detail and texture. The frenetic editing and choppy camerawork do the image no favors, but it holds steady. Black levels are good, and there is plenty of shadow detail in the submerged limo. Colors are nicely saturated, and I noticed no issues with digital tinkering or aliasing.

SOUND:

The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio mix offers clear, annoying dialogue, and plenty of ambient and action effects to immerse the viewer. The sounds of the gradual sinking travel throughout the surrounds, gunfire ricochets across the room, and the subwoofer awakens for action bits. English and Spanish subtitles are included.

PACKAGING AND EXTRAS:

This single-disc release is packed in a standard case with two-sided artwork. A slipcover wraps the case. Blessedly, the only extra is the Trailer (2:26/HD).

FINAL THOUGHTS:

This high-concept thriller is low on entertainment value thanks to annoying characters and poor direction. Nothing about Submerged is thrilling or compelling, and the film does little to make you identify with its core characters. The Blu-ray looks and sounds good, but you'll still want to Skip It.


Additional screenshots:

William lives in Burlington, North Carolina, and looks forward to a Friday-afternoon matinee.

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