I’m away at the moment travelling Southern Europe but that didn’t stop me from sniffing out a film festival during the trip. The film festival was MOTELX, a horror film festival based in Lisbon that was showing films while we were there. Lisbon is a beautiful city, so to not spend too much time in a dark room or annoying my girlfriend, we decided to only catch one film. That film was Super Dark Times. We saw the film in the Tivoli Theatre, a really cool old building that set a great atmosphere for this horror/thriller film.
Super Dark Times feels like it could be categorised into the Stand By Me, E.T and the Stranger Things genre of media. A throwback to the eighties, though it doesn’t wear its inspirations on its sleeve as other recent nostalgic throwbacks have. The film follows a group of friends who find themselves in a dilemma after an accident leaves one of them dead. Young, dumb and scared the remaining friends decide to hide the body and pretend nothing has happened. There’s more to the film than this but it’s better to go into the film blind, as it takes many different routes along the way to its climax. The young cast is made of unknowns (to me anyway) but all are great actors in the making, with excellent chemistry they carry the film along with ease, the main players being Owen Campbell, Charlie Tahan, Elizabeth Cappuccino, Max Talisman and Sawyer Barth.
It’s more of a thriller than a horror film but it also has a lot of teenage angst boiling beneath its surface, making it a great coming of age film as well. It mixes it up a lot, funny, scary, broody and romantic. It mainly takes places from the mindset of one of the friends, Zach, the camera even inhabiting his dreams as he tries to make sense of himself, his friends, his love life and the dead friend he’s covering up. It’s slightly slow in places but allows the audience to breathe and take in the events and enjoy the beautiful cinematography as it broods over a grey and misty in town in America.
I was really taken aback by this one. I really enjoyed it; I had a feeling I might but I didn’t know I would love it so much. I felt it perfectly captured the troubled mind of a teenager, whether through literal actions or dream sequences and it helped me get invested in the characters and their outcomes. When the more ‘horror’ elements come in, its tense and they do scare you because the film has earnt it. It’s a really incredible film for a debut feature from Kevin Phillips and one of my favourites of the year. I’m rating Super Dark Times a 5/5.
I would definitely go back to Lisbon and I would also love to head back to MOTELX when it’s back on; they obviously pick a great selection of films for their festival. I believe the film itself comes out on VOD later this month. I highly recommend it!
Thanks for reading!