Review: Super Hybrid (Blu-ray)

2011/08/22 18:57:30 +00:00 | Steph Howard

Sometimes when I’m behind a particularly idiotic driver, I find myself wondering, in between shouted obscenities, if there’s even anyone at the wheel. Of course when I’m asking this, I’m imagining someone clipping their toenails or prattling away on their cell phone.

Obviously, the latest gossip about Jim-Bob is much more important than the two-ton hunk of steel that they’ve put on the road. Imagine, though, what if there wasn’t anyone in that driver’s seat at all. What if. . . the car was driving itself?

Sure, there are already movies with this premise, take Stephen King's Maximum Overdrive and Christine for example. Sentient cars aren’t a new concept. However, let’s take this notion a bit further: what if that car in front of you isn’t even a car at all?

Tilda (Shannon Beckner) is in a rut. She’s living with her unemployed, loser boyfriend and working nights for a total pig at a police impound garage. Whatever life-dreams she may have had died in a car crash, along with her sister, leaving her to look after her college-aged nephew, Bobby (Ryan Kennedy Caprica). Something Tilda probably never dreamt about: fighting with a deadly, car-creature fusion, while her boss, Ray (Oded Fehr The Mummy, Resident Evil: Apocalypse, Charmed), wants to capture the car for a quick buck. What they don’t realize is that this car has plans for them, too.

Super Hybrid director Eric Valette and writer Benjamin Carr wanted their film to be a divergence from the normal “killer car” movie, experimenting with the blending of the killer car and creature feature genres. While in theory, this crossbreeding sounds promising, they seemed to lose sight of the actual story-line. Watching the movie, I felt as though the plot was ever-changing and creative tweaks were being made on the fly while it was in the process of being filmed. The story morphs and the rules change as the players go along, and I felt like what I got wasn't a finished product. I was left with many unanswered questions and generally disappointed that the heart of the film, the story, didn’t live up to the acting. If the movie had focused more directly on either the creature or car aspect of the movie, enhancing one with the other instead of battling between genres, this movie would have made more sense and be easier to follow along as a viewer.

Completely ignoring the story line, the acting in Super Hybrid was a pleasant surprise. I had a hard time believing the events going on in the movie, but it was easy to empathize with the characters. It goes without saying that Oded Fehr has had quite a few roles in the past, so going into this film I expected Fehr’s to be the only convincing character. The real breakout star of the movie, though, was Shannon Beckner, and I look forward to seeing more from her in the future. I was also very impressed to see a leading female character in a horror movie who was portrayed as a strong and capable human being rather than someone in a skimpy outfit, dependent on others to rescue them.

The disc itself was a bit above average, giving the viewer a smattering of commentary and behind the scenes feature to go along with the subtitle, trailer and scene selection norm. It was interesting to see the director, writer, actors and producers discuss their thoughts and feelings on specific parts of the movie. I may not agree with them that their end result was a success, but I appreciate hearing their take, and after watching their enthusiasm, I think I may have liked the movie a little more for it.

This movie may not make much sense or push genre boundaries in a successful light, but if you're in the mood for an awesomely bad creature-feature or killer car movie, you should check out Super Hybrid. It may not hold up against classics like Christine, but it's a good entertainment option for one of those rainy Sunday nights.

Film Score: 1.5/5                 Disc Score: 3/5