October 19, 2018 The Super (Movie Review)
Home is where a person goes to feel safe. Nothing bad is ever supposed to happen within the shelter of those walls. Home can also be defined as where the family is present. There is nothing more natural than a parent – a father in this case – doing everything in his power to keep his family safe and secure. Set for release digitally on Friday, October 19, 2018 in the USA via Saban Films and through The Movie Partnership Monday, October 22nd in the UK, The Super is a Thriller that aims to challenge the idea of how far a father will go in order to keep his family safe.
Written by John J. McLaughlin (Black Swan 2010, Hitchcock 2012) and directed by Stephan Rick (The Good Neighbor 2011, The Dark Side of the Moon 2015), in The Super, Phil Lodge (Patrick John Flueger: The 4400 2004, Chicago P.D. series) is a former cop who has taken a superintendent job in a large New York City apartment building in order to stay safe for his daughters, Violet (Taylor Richardson: Jack of the Red Hearts 2015, Slender Man 2018) and Rose (Mattea Conforti: Gotham series, Viper Club 2018). Lodge makes quick friends with his coworker, Julio (Yul Vazquez: Runaway Bride 1999, The A-Team 2010), and beautiful tenant Beverly (Louisa Krause: King Kelly 2012, Billions 2016). Rose also seems to find a quiet existence in their new surroundings. Violet clearly does not want to be there but is able to find a friendly face in Vondell (Travaris Spears: Admission 2013, Freedom 2014).
The new surroundings seem perfect for the family except for the presence of another super, Walter (Val Kilmer: The Doors 1991, Batman Forever 1995). Walter is weird and antisocial. Julio warns Lodge that he is into some weird voodoo magic stuff and not to mess with him. Walter seems especially interested in Rose. Lodge’s concern for his family heightens as Vondell and other tenants in the building mysteriously disappear. Lodge is convinced that Walter is behind the disappearances and will do anything to protect his daughters. Is Walter really the cause? Is he systematically getting rid of all the people associated with Lodge and his family? Or is there something more sinister happening in the apartment building? Is anyone truly safe?
It makes complete sense for a man like Flueger’s Lodge to want to protect his children after his wife dies. They are bound to be safe if he works in the same building that they live in, right? He will always be present and near them in case the unthinkable happens. He is just trying to make a safe home for his family after all. Flueger’s Lodge is an instantly likable guy. It seems his only mission is to keep his family intact. No one can really be blamed for that, can they? Parents are supposed to protect their children no matter the cost. Lodge, more than most parents, is in a position that the cost is dangerously higher than the norm. The film does an excellent job at exploring just how far a parent will go to protect their children. Flueger plays the part of the devoted father with such intensity that the viewer will root for his success – even if things are not exactly as they appear.
Additionally, Kilmer’s Walter is the epitome of the creepy guy anyone would want to keep away from their children and even themselves. He has pictures of random children and others pasted on the buildings furnace and is constantly watching the tenants on the cameras. His appearance is jarring and elicits an immediate repulsion in the viewer. His hair is slicked back and greasy looking. He stares intensely at the other characters on screen and even if he actually does not, the viewer can almost hear him breathing through his mouth. His entire appearance appears dirty and just off.
In fact, if you were not aware of his presence in the film, it would be easy not to recognize the iconic actor. Even when he speaks, his voice is low and somewhat grating. Walter is the type of character that no one would want to interact with if a choice was given. His presence alone creates an atmosphere of dread and allows the viewer to readily accept that anything wrong happening in the apartment building must be because of him. This is not a role that Val Kilmer immediately jumps into a person’s mind to play, but after viewing his exceptional performance, there could have been no one else to fill Walter’s shoes.
All this in mind, what makes The Super such a successful Thriller is the amount of misdirection and the fully realized characters it possesses. It seems like a straightforward dad must protect the family from the creep and all outside forces that when the truth is finally revealed it is like a punch to the gut for the viewer. All of the characters are flawed but are able to draw such distinct reactions that one viewing will certainly not be enough to satisfy.
It is rare when the writing, acting, and staging all come together and create a realistic story that allows you to feel a range of emotions, but The Super is that film. Nothing is a throw away for filler. Every piece fits perfectly. It is for these reasons that CrypticRock bestows The Super 5 out of 5 stars.