Oh how I used to love Val Kilmer movies. His turn in Tombstone is fantastic, or take Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. Of course, it’s been a while since he was in anything ‘big’, so he takes a turn on some smaller movies.
The Super sees him take his place alongside Patrick John Flueger (“The 4400 (TV)”, “Footloose”) who is Phil, a man who arrives at a big old creepy high-rise in New York to help about with maintenance and such like.
Phil brings with him his daughters Violet, Taylor Richardson (“A Most Violent Year”, “Easy Living”), and Rose, Mattea Conforti (“Power (TV)”, “3 Generations”), and a lot of baggage to boot. His wife having passed, Violet now sees Phil as the bad man whilst little, sweet Rose is, well, anything but.
Strange things are afoot in this New York City block though. It’s a creepy building to begin with but when jewelry music starts playing you know you’re in trouble. There’s blood, gore and a whole lot of scares in The Super.
Experienced writer John J. McLaughlin (“Black Swan”, “Parker”) is the man on scare duties and he weaves a wonderfully tight story that, whilst not without its problems, is quick, tense and will have you jumping out of your seat, if not skin.
There are some dead-ends, such as the story of building owner Mr. Johnson, Paul Ben-Victor (“Tombstone”, “Daredevil”), who has his very own creepy room. The reasons for it are revealed but then just left alone, never mentioned again.
The ending also feels a little rushed, though is open for sequels, but on the whole the script does what you want from a horror/thriller. It thrills and scares and generally creeps you out.
It’s Flueger who takes centre stage, a friendly, helpful sort of guy who takes an immediate dislike to Kilmer’s character who is an old creepy man in the basement, speaking in foreign tongues and mixing weird concoctions of god-knows-what for god-knows-who.
Kilmer doesn’t get enough screen time to really let leash though what we see of him is good, suitably creepy. Flueger is a charm to watch, such an innocent face, he plays the character like a down-at-heel husband and it’s not till much later that you realise just why.
The Super borrows heavily from the likes of a certain M. Night Shyamalan early film and plenty of other suspenseful thriller/horrors that have gone before. That doesn’t mean The Super is bad, just a tad predictable here and there.
The man tasked with making all this appear on the screen is German director Stephan Rick (“The Dark Side Of The Moon”, “The Peppercorns (TV)”). He does a great job of building the suspense and keeping it there, as well as making you feel like a peeping tom a lot of the time, spying on the residents.
There are some cheap jumps thrown in, but hey, why not. A creepy soundtrack (take note Edge Of Fear) helps and the creaks and groans and whispers add to the overarching feeling that all is not as it seems.
The Super is a decent, watchable film. It knows its place, it doesn’t try to delve deep into storylines or reasoning and thus make the runtime hours and hours long. We get a short (by modern standards) hour and a half that is tight and zips along at a thrilling pace.
Perhaps not one to watch by yourself if you live in a big old scary building!
22nd October 2018
John J. McLaughlin
THE QUICK SELL
A man becomes the superintendent of a large New York City apartment building where people mysteriously go missing.