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Movie Review: XX
In spite of them closing down for the weekend, Ray's police impound garage takes in one more car for repair. This particular car was just in a wreck, so it comes as a surprise when one of the mechanics goes to check on the car and it looks almost brand new. It's even more of a surprise when the car attacks and kills the mechanic. Turns out the car is actually a living organism, and can change its appearance to match any car it chooses. Oh, and it just so happens to love hunting humans.
Quick, name a film about a killer car that isn't CHRISTINE, MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE, DUEL or even THE CAR. Not that many, huh? I assume that's what director Eric Valette and writer Benjamin Carr are attempting to capitalize on with this film, and to be honest it's not a bad idea. Taking a little bit of ALIEN and putting it in a garage with fodder seems like an interesting idea.
Say what you will about the ONE MISSED CALL remake, but Eric Valette managed to get in some fairly nice-looking shots for that clunker. In SUPER HYBRID, Valette again goes for the slick visuals, starting with an opening aerial shot of Chicago showcasing the bustle of the city while also showing off the knots of freeways at night. It makes the film's $13 million budget go a long way, and reminds me of some shots from 80s action movies. These visuals get choked by the move indoors for the rest of the film, but at least the idea of a darkly-lit, barely populated parking garage is creepy.
Acting-wise, the film is pretty generic when it comes to the cast, as you end up only caring about two characters. The recognizable names start and end with Oded Fehr, who is your classic asshole boss who doesn't have much to his two-dimensional self. Shannon Beckner plays Telda, who is your classic 'young working-class woman hoping that life will cut her some slack', and who also stands up to Ray's assholeness. Everyone else plays the roles as best they can, but it's obvious that they're all car fodder.
In case you haven't realized it, SUPER HYBRID isn't one of the most 'deep' horror films. It's a 'by the numbers' affair that takes itself seriously when it really shouldn't. Characters make dumb decisions (such as why would you want to capture the car when it's imperative you get your ass out of there?). There are convenient plot twists that prevent folks from communicating with the outside or even getting out of the garage, as well as the typical "person 'X' goes wandering in the dark" moments that don't exactly have much in the suspense department. The car's eventual reveal as to what it is gets hampered by the cheap CGI, and the explanation for what it is screams of being shoehorned. Had the film played up the goofy nature of the fact that it's a car that eats people instead of trying to be straight-faced, it might've been more enjoyable. It's better than what you'd get from SyFy, but it's still a dumb movie that can't compare to the likes of better killer car films of the past.
Video: SUPER HYBRID is presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. There's good detail in this transfer, with accurate flesh tones and natural-looking colours. Some of the darker scenes tend to envelop the transfer in black, squeezing out the detail, but overall this transfer looks okay.
Audio: The Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround track is again okay. Dialogue is clear and distortion-free while the soundtrack and effects come through nicely, but the overall track lacks oomph, particularly during the car mayhem scenes.
The only extra on the disc is a half-hour making-of featurette entitled Under The Hood. Featuring interviews with the cast and crew, we get the cast sharing their thoughts on their characters in addition to some of their audition footage, a look at the challenges of making Regina, Saskatchewan look like Chicago, Illinois, stunts and makeup as well as the visual effects. For such a lackluster film, once again a featurette eases the discomfort. Almost.
This could been a fun ride, but SUPER HYBRID ends up stalled over being serious about the silly nature of the film, then decides to shoot out its tires with lame explanations and plot twists. The documentary shows the hard work that was put into the film, but ultimately shows that it was a waste in some regards.