A Film Review By Amber

Film Festival titles can often be underappreciated. Not by those who attend, but by those general audiences who are convinced mainstream movies are the only films worth pursuing. While there have been some fantastic horror movies brought to the big screen from festivals (It Follows, The VVitch, first 80 minutes of The Babadook), it still remains a sad fact that often indie horror flicks get pushed to streaming services and disappear into anonymity before anyone can really notice.  ON AUGUST 14TH, 2017 Super Dark Times joined that special group of aforementioned films that become something more.  

Here is a quick plot summary:

Zack and Josh are two best friends growing up in the 90’s in small town suburbia.  After they spend an afternoon with their other two friends, a tragic accident changes the course and structure of their lives. As they adapt, they cope with harrowing reminders of their actions. This simple setup results into fucking perfection. I know my plot summary is very basic, but if I spoiled this, you would hate me. I don’t want to focus on what is to come. I want future audiences to discover what this genre has been missing.

While scrolling through IMDb two weeks ago, I stumbled upon their trailer. As I immersed myself into that minute and fifty one seconds, I had that rush for a film I had been missing for so long. That excitement of the unknown and what I could discover.  Throughout the Popcorn Film Frights Festival in Miami, I spoke about seeing the film every day, convincing film goers to watch it on Monday at its Florida premiere. So many fantastic trailers ended in disappointment.  The most mediocre films can still produce excellent trailers. All of the hype dies out quickly when your expectations are set so high and you realize they will never be fulfilled.

Luckily for me, the trailer hinted at what could happen, but showed almost nothing of the second half of the movie. Thus, everything past the half way mark became shocking. It was all perfect. The dialogue, the acting, the setting, the storyline.  It all felt so real. Every scene, emotion, outfit, prop usage was all there to represent something bigger.  Even now, I am geeking out over a particular detail which made me realize this film was deeper than even the audience realized. Trying not to spoil anything here, but as Zach imagines Allison in a wet dream, she is wearing the lingerie from True Lies.  A movie the four characters were discussing earlier and that intense strip tease scene beautifully done by Scream Queen Jamie Lee Curtis.This film was an experience for me. I felt a connection to the characters early on. I felt like I was inside the film and sympathized with each person.

For every uncomfortable moment, right from the opening scene, my head was buried in my chest or my hand magnetized to my gaping mouth.I could feel myself reacting, getting more excited as the film went on.  I was never 100% sure what was going to happen, but with every minute passing, I became more and more eager for where the director seemed to be taking thefilm. Every few minutes, I kept thinking this could actually happen.  This could actually be based off of chilling story of paranoia and tragedy.

It should be noted: my favorite types of films portray daily lives with a disruption that changes the course of the film. In the horror genre, many movies start with characters going out of their way to visit abandon homes or put themselves in unintelligent situations. This movie just started with their everyday schedule and then evolved into a thriller. It was all fantastic. The acting was incredible. The shots were beautiful. The emotions felt raw and true.  I literally raved about this movie for hours. Telling every single person, I know it is a MUST-SEE. Top 3 for 2017 only behind the perfection of Get Out and Raw. 

This movie changed the way I understand and view coming of age stories. It told a deeper, darker tale where teenagers do not know how to get out, of situations they may find themselves in. Every moment was a representation of something bigger going on in their lives while adapting to how society perceives them and how they need to fit in and try to be normal when really deep down they feel so lost and alone. Even now as I write this article, I watch the trailer on repeat.  Trying to savor every single moment from this fantastic movie. Trying to relive my fear and shock. I was pre-warned by one of the co-founders of the fest how fantastic the film was, but that I might be disappointed that it would not go in the direction I might hope. Well it 100% fucking did not disappoint. There are so many unanswered questions, which I could spend hours pondering.  But for now, I can only try to relive the uncomfortable feeling I felt in the theater.The squirming in my chair, clutching my glass of wine and popcorn.  Feeling more than just entertained, instead my thoughts provoked. As depressing as it is, I’ll never get to relive my first experience. I can only witness near perfection over and over again until I fully understand it’s hidden messages and structure.

Super Dark Times is an absolute win and has forever changed the standard of coming of age films.