Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (December 12, 2018)
A thriller that concentrates on a limited physical setting, 2018’s The Super introduces us to Phil Lodge (Patrick John Flueger), a former police officer. After he leaves the force, he takes a job as a superintendent in a New York City apartment complex.
As time passes, some tenants disappear, and these events create suspicions in Phil. He fears that a serial killer stalks the halls of the apartment building, so he attempts to deal with this menace.
Not that I suspect many will care what happens. Heavy-handed and trite, Super provides a flawed attempt at a thriller.
Take the movie’s opening kill, for instance. In a better-executed film, we’d get a quick murder scene that exists to set up the villain and circumstances.
In this case, we get a segment that shows the setting and danger, but the “quick” part doesn’t come to pass. Instead, Super takes forever to execute its initial murder, and the scene fails to muster scares or drama. It just feels like it rambles forever in desperate search of tension that doesn’t materialize.
That goes for the rest of Super, as it comes with tons of failed attempts to frighten the viewer. Indeed, the movie barely attempts anything other than scares, an overdone orientation that creates one of its many problems.
If everything that movie does skews toward “terror”, than nothing terrifies. A story like this needs some balance, but the tale so infrequently allows for anything other than darkness that it fails to achieve the necessary ups and downs.
Heck, even harrowing tales like Se7en and Silence of the Lambs come with occasional laughs!
Actually, Super does prompt some chuckles, but not intentionally. Instead, its own absurdity creates amusement, as the ridiculously overwrought score and insanely obvious red herring character add unplanned mirth to the proceedings.
Despite the filmmakers’ desperate attempts to push us toward one particular suspect, the actual killer seems obvious – well, obvious if you’ve seen this sort of cheap fakeout, that is. Perhaps younger movie-watchers will fall for the cheesy machinations, but it takes little to see through the ruse.
All of this adds up to a pretty poor thriller. A better film could’ve made something from this one’s bones, but the end result becomes predictable and inane.
Footnote: a short teaser pops up during the end credits.