Director: Stephen Rick
Starring. Patrick John Flueger, Val Kilmer, Mattea Conforti, Taylor Richardson, Paul Ben-Victor, Yul Vasquez. USA. 1h 30m.
There are a number of amazing tenant building horrors and thriller out here, Roman Polanski thrilled audiences with his trilogy of high rise fears, playing on the social and personal psychological terrors that can be conjured by a strange cult living within the walls or being left to one’s own devices, with no idea what kind of community you’re moving into there is a long running horror trope of new tenants finding strange secrets lurking in their new dream home, from either something creepy in the sub basements to demons haunting the halls, all of this is attractively laid out but in my opinion rubbished by a terrible ending, only written to continue a story that I don’t think anyone needs.
With a who’s who in cinematography and production the film looks a million dollars, there are some really sophisticated shots that set up a damned near perfect paranormal horror, but with only one veteran actor, Val Kilmer, who at the time was fresh out of hospital from Cancer treatment, wasn’t really able to cement his presence, but is by far the best on screen presence, even with his struggled for vocal range.
After some keys go missing there’s tantalising introduction to this horror mystery, when a young teacher and her disabled brother are brutally stalked and murdered in their apartment, the hero is introduced, a young single father, Phil (Flueger) of two beautiful girls, their mother has passed away so he’s jacked in his job as a police officer as he doesn’t want the girls to be orphaned. There’s a lot of strife between him and his eldest daughter but they get by with their abrasive natures. Slowly acclimating to their new neighbors and are especially weary of a European caretaker, Walter (Kilmer) who spends his time in the basements muttering to himself and attending his creepy shrine and folk magic shenanigans while carrying out menial tasks in the opulent New York high rise.
He has your keys
Walters weirdness coupled with a few more disappearances kicks Phil into action and he begins to use his honed police skills to investigate but Walter seems to be a pro and he has to plant evidence. But after a letter arrives on the desk of the owner of the building, the tide turns. The movie begins to take a twisted turn and no one is safe when the real killing starts.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with the look and feel of the movie, the opening has all the panache of the city scenes in Se7en (1995) the occult ghostly murders switch the movie into longer blurry shots highlighting the darker nature of the building and its inhabitants.
Stephan Rick’s career includes a lot of episodes of two of the longer running cop shows Tatort (1970-) and Polizeiruf 110 (1971-) there are a handful of other mystery and crime base thrillers, but it seems there was something lost in translation and sadly after all the stylish work that went into Super it was let down by an ending which really let the project down. The wonderfully detailed gruesome death scenes, the buildup of tension and mysteries between the tenants, the creepy owner and his underhanded ways and Slavic witch in the basement all seem to be building to an impressive mix and while there is an impressive twist in the end which will make you go back and watch the film again, it’s also so utterly deflating and seems only to push for a second movie to get a real conclusion.
The Super is a film powered by it’s ability to give the viewer enough to consider to main motives of murder, a real psychotic or something a little more esoteric, it’s character study into city who folk who find it so easy to look pass the little details in their busy lives. There are so many occasions when everyday people have the chance to make the right choices and basically don’t but what we don’t understand we fear and when push comes to shove we don’t understand. Without trying tying to spill a spoiler, the biggest question raised is how the faithless, (be it organized or folk religion) are so easily preyed on and we all must remain vigilant.