“RUB” takes audiences on an exhilarating journey into the unexpected, showcasing the impressive feature debut of writer and director Chris Fox. The film tells the story of Neal (Micah Spayer), a lonely and socially awkward man who finds himself entangled in a series of bizarre and dangerous events after visiting a mysterious massage parlour.
The film’s biggest standout is unpredictability and unhinged nature, keeping viewers engaged and on the edge of their seats throughout. When it is first introduced to you, you are not sure exactly what to expect or what to even compare it with.
“RUB” adopts a style of storytelling that succeeds at keeping the viewer guessing at every turn. The film defies expectations, delivering on the initial concept that it introduces from the beginning. Then takes a surprising turn that presents us with further depth and dark drama.
Micah Spayer‘s portrayal of Neal is a true highlight of the film. He masterfully brings the character to life, making him feel authentic and relatable, despite his odd quirky behaviour and social ineptitude. You feel Neal‘s loneliness, naivety and pain which is a result of the disdain from his work colleagues.
Jennifer Figuereo plays Perla, the gorgeous lady he encounters at the massage parlour. She is curvy and confident. We get to see her in all her glory. Her performance shows a positive light on women with similar body types. The intimate scenes in the film and shot exquisitely treating the characters with respect and avoiding objectification.
Figuereo complements Spayer’s performance beautifully, adding depth and complexity to their relationship. Together they become the driving force for “RUB” and the exhilarating journey it takes the viewer on.
The cinematography and lighting play a significant role in creating an intense atmosphere that enhances the overall experience. The film creatively takes advantage of some vibrant color pallets reminiscent of classic horror films, giving it a visually striking quality that seemingly adds some value to the film.
The film’s score, composed by Nick Bohun, perfectly complements the action on-screen, providing a spooky and intense synth-driven soundtrack that elevates the film’s thrilling moments.
While “RUB” embraces its unpredictability, it may not be everyone’s cup of tea. Some viewers may find the lack of a straightforward narrative to be confusing or disorienting, and it might not appeal to those who prefer more traditional storytelling.
Despite its initial promise, “RUB” falters a bit in its execution. The film has moments that feel like they could have been pushed further to deliver a more impactful experience. While the journey is exciting, the resolution in the third act might leave some viewers feeling unsatisfied or wanting more.
There are times when the film flirts with aimlessness, causing some scenes to lose focus and direction. While this is likely a deliberate choice to maintain unpredictability, it may leave some viewers longing for a more coherent narrative.
The character development could have been further explored, especially with supporting characters. Although the film centres on Neal and Perla, some of the other characters remain underdeveloped, and you can’t tell exactly what their motivations or influences are.
“RUB” is a wild and adventurous film that showcases the talent and imagination of writer/director Christopher Fox. The film’s unpredictability, impressive performances, and striking visuals make it a noteworthy addition to the world of independent cinema.
While it might not be for everyone due to its unconventional approach, those seeking an innovative and thrilling experience will find “RUB” to be an exciting ride into the unknown.
I would score this 6.5/10 for the experience it provides.
With a few rough edges, “RUB” manages to leave a lasting impression and serves as a testament to the boundless possibilities of indie filmmaking. It stands as an invitation to viewers to embrace the unexpected and dive into the twisted world of cinematic freedom.
Whether you are a fan of unconventional narratives or looking for a fresh take on the road picture genre, “RUB” promises a unique and thrilling cinematic journey worth exploring.
RUB will debut on Cable VOD and Digital HD, including iTunes, Amazon, Vudu, Comcast and Verizon, August 1, 2023.