By: Henry J. Fromage (Two Beers) –
Prepare yourselves for the concept of the 1990s as a nostalgia film setting. Yeah, I know it’s happening already, but man, Hollywood doesn’t care if you’re right around 30. You’re gonna feel old.
Just put us in the rest home right now.
This is a hacky way to point out that Super Dark Times is set in 1995, presumably to justify the kind of coming of age tale that requires daily bike rides with your friends, corded phone conversations, and no mention of the internet, nevermind in portable form. All of these childhood touchstones take a, well, dark turn, putting these friends’ relationships to the test on a different plane, and heading on a, well, super dark path.
First-time feature director Kevin Phillips starts his off with his and Luke Piotrowski/Ben Collins’ very naturalistic dialogue and character writing and the woozy visuals he conjures up with DP Eli Born using a lot of soft natural light and perpetually overcast skies to create a realistic, nostalgic vision of 1990s teenhood.
They then dash it to pieces with a surprising act of unintended violence that spins the film into a paranoid almost-thriller. Phillips exhibits strong directorial control throughout- the escalation of events truly is nerve-wracking. Once things get a little bit fucked up and trippy, his direction steps up to the plate and does the same.
If anything, Super Dark Times is a triumph of filmcraft, but the cast does a good job of making you care for them, which makes the shocking, almost Elephant-feeling turns the third act takes all the more affecting.
The annoying fat friend is probably too good at being annoying- most nobody acts like this. In general, the acting isn’t always up to par with the rest of the filmmaking skills, although it’s plenty good for the experience level, and as the film pares back to a few key players in its home stretch, something that leaves your mind entirely.
Super Dark Times is a harrowing story of innocence corrupted, of darkness descending on a suburban high school magic hour idyll.
Super Dark Times (2017) Drinking Game
Take a Drink: whenever Darryl is as annoying as well
Take a Drink: for fights
Take a Drink: for the sword
Take a Drink: whenever shit gets, well, super dark
Take a Drink: for disturbing dreams
Do a Shot: wait, is that a Lars von Trier’s Antichrist reference?
Do a Shot: weed really is the gateway to Hell, eh?