THE SUPER (2017)
Directed by Stephen Rick
Phil, a widower, and his two daughters move into an apartment building in New York City where he has gained employment as a Super. Working alongside Walter and Julio, Phil is tasked to carry out repairs around the building but when residents start to go missing, he begins to suspect that there may be more to his colleague Walter than meets the eye.
THE SUPER feels like a made-for-TV film that just about constitutes as a watchable horror thanks to some intriguing, gruesome death scenes and decent performances from its cast, both young and old. However, this doesn’t save the film from falling into predictable territory and fails to make horror viewers, even casual ones, sit up and take note.
As someone who loves and writes about horror, there was nothing setting this movie apart from other low budget efforts when I first heard about the title. However, when I saw Val Kilmer attached to the film, my interest piqued. Kilmer is an actor that I’ve admired, particularly for his roles in the tremendous Western movie Tombstone and Oliver Stone’s Jim Morrison biopic, The Doors. In THE SUPER, he plays a creepy old caretaker who’s heavily into Ukrainian ancient magic and may or may not be a nonce or murderer. With his dopey expression and bedraggled appearance, Walter looks every bit a weirdo. Preferring to stay in the basement, watching CCTV cameras next to a mysterious furnace, he screams creep but his witchcraft studies and shuffling appearances in the corridor, no matter how strange, point to him obviously not being the culprit. After all, he is too much of a stereotype to be the villain of the piece – a shadowy person who lurks in apartment corridors and rooms playing a music box before gruesomely killing their prey. The film’s attempt at a twist is anything but. It’s glaringly obvious from the start, particular for horror aficionados, where the film will lead.
Deciding to go back and forth between kills and the domestic dramas between Phil and his kids, THE SUPER manages to keep viewers engaged for the first two thirds of the movie. It’s the final third where everything seems to unravel. The character of Phil and his kids seem too shallow so when things do start getting serious, it’s hard to actually care for the people we see on-screen. The only people who seem to have depth to them are the couple at the beginning of the movie who set the tone for the rest of the movie. Unfortunately, the subsequent action never really lives up to the threats we initially see.
A mismatch of ideas makes for a mediocre movie that’s more aimed at teens than it is for adults.