OK, so, Heather Langenkamp only appears in this for about thirty seconds but… come on! It’s Heather Frickin’ Langenkamp and any chance to see her in the horror genre deserves as much recognition as possible. Plus, her brief role as Senora Babcock is her best work since New Nightmare in 1994 and reinforces my belief that she’s still got it. She’s still very emotive. Once a scream queen, always a scream queen! And what’s great about this particular short film is that she’s not the only standout. The entire cast is comprised of stars including Zoe Jarman (“The Mindy Project”), Carrie Wampler (“Austin and Ally”), Barrett Carnaham (“The Thundermans”), Brian Stepanek (“The Suite Life of Zack and Cody”), John Balma (“Parks and Recreation”), Kylee Russell and Jocelyn Ayanna.
Though I will say that Zoe Jarman and Kylee Russell absolutely steal the show.
The Sub is the perfect horror comedy to usher young fans into the genre and a testament that high school is Hell no matter what reason you’re there. In the sixteen minute short film, substitute teacher Mae Zalinski (Jarman) takes a job filling in for an absent teacher (Heather Langenkamp) who teaches Spanish class. Mae is a train-wreck of a human being and absolutely unprepared to stand in front of a group of ravenous high schoolers. All day the students, coaches and teachers prattle on about the curriculum and how the curriculum must be obeyed. It’s only after school, while one of Mae’s favorite students serves detention, does the substitute teacher discover that the curriculum literally has a life of its own. Follow the lesson plans or get eaten in The Sub!
Boy, oh boy, did I love this film! It’s easily a contender to be on my favorite films of the year list. A mix of Children of the Corn and The Faculty, this is an extremely polished, professional and endearing horror-comedy from start to finish. Previously it’s screened at Dead by Dawn International Horror Film Fest of Scotland, Independent Film Fest of Boston and Nashville Film Fest and I sincerely hope it continues its journey in the film festival circuit while simultaneously debuting on Vimeo because it has the potential to be a massive hit; a title that I think could make it rain awards. And it certainly deserves to! I’m trying to find a cohesive stream of thoughts for this review, but all I can do is rave about this short film. If you’re a rom-com fan,I watched The Sub like Kristen Wiig when she gets the lemonade outside Mya Rudolph’s bridal shower in Bridesmaids. Literally whispering to myself, “God damnit this is so good.” All around big movie studio production quality, incredibly timed acting performances and a subtle retro feel that is absolutely to die for. This is only the third short film from director Dan Samiljan and I just want to punch him in the face for making something this good!
Mr. Samiljan co-wrote and co-produced The Sub with Dave Cain and fellow producers Justin Wagman, Noelle Hubbell and James Goldman. It features cinematography from Devin Doyle, editing from Morgan Pritchard and production design from Ashley Fenton. I know there are other crew members I should highlight for working on this incredible sleeper hit, but my mind is too blown to think of everybody. This is how you do horror-comedy right and this is how you do it in a way that is all encompassing to genre fans no matter what age they are. Dan Samiljan delivered a fantastic short film that has captivated my heart without tremendous gore, nudity or shock value. He did it with a simple story, an expert script and a crew that defied my expectations. What a wonderful surprise and such a clever way at covering multiple elements at one time. I wish The Sub was a feature length film because it’s something I would buy on DVD and watch again and again. My only complaint is that the climax of the climax is kinda… eh. Still, I want all of you who read this to share my review. Make this short film go viral. I fear it’s going to fly under the radar for a lot of people and the work and effort put into this is awe-inspiring.
Holy crap. I loved this film. Final Score: 10/10.