‘Super Dark Times’ now available on Shudder!

Super Dark Times will stun Shudder audiences. Here is a flashback to our review from The Fantasia International Film Festival 2017…

SUPER DARK TIMES

Teenagers Zach and Josh have been best friends their whole lives, but when a gruesome accident leads to a cover-up, the secret drives a wedge between them and propels them down a rabbit hole of escalating paranoia and violence.

Set in the early ’90s, before Columbine was an event ingrained in history, a child’s innocence was not as easily spoiled as the kids in Super Dark Times. As someone who grew up at the same time as the main characters, I can attest to the typical dangers that surrounded our childhood. We were affected by the national news when a child was kidnapped, but that was about it. On the first evening of this year’s Fantasia Film Festival, audiences will see a film so brilliantly composed from the colors and textures of the costumes and cinematography to the incredibly disturbing storyline from screenwriters Ben Collins, Luke Piotrowski. The power of an act of violence changes a person. Born from that awkward time in our lives comes the idea that fear can control the room, where the older/stronger kids ruled the proverbial schoolyards. Drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes made you popular and badass and oftentimes, intimidating. Super Dark Times taps into those ideals in that very specific time in history, and yet it has a creepy timeless factor once you understand the full plot. With elements of the surreal, you will find yourself asking who is showing us the truth at any given moment. Director Kevin Phillips takes us on a sickening journey, one that’s become all too familiar as the years have rolled by.

  • Directed by: Kevin Phillips
  • Written by: Ben Collins, Luke Piotrowski
  • Cast: Sawyer Barth, Owen Campbell, Elizabeth Cappuccino, Amy Hargreaves, Charlie Tahan, Max Talisman
  • Company: 1091

Review: ‘Star Light’ star bright? Not quite.

A supernatural thriller, STAR LIGHT involves a kind-hearted teenager, Dylan (Cameron Johnson), who crashes into a beautiful young woman (Scout Taylor-Compton) while skateboarding. She turns out to be a world-famous popstar, who is on the run from her handlers. While he and his group of friends try to help this mysterious woman, unexplained events begin to occur within the home. When Bebe’s threatening handler, Anton, shows up demanding her return, the teenagers’ refusal makes him unleash a barrage of dire and otherworldly consequences that turns a fun graduation party into a night of living hell.

Star Light feels like a copycat attempt of Tales From The Crypt: Demon Knight, with the hopes that a younger audience has no idea what that is. If you haven’t seen that yet, do yourself a favor and do so now. The acting is…  not great overall. The dinner scene in the opening of the film is so overly hostile, you may pause, make popcorn, and want to referee Real Housewives style. I give credit to the commitment of the actors. No one can say they gave a half-assed performance. Unfortunately, the dialogue is as cliche as having actors that are closer to 30 play high school students. I probably would have respected the film more had these actually been kids. The early skateboarding shots are by far my favorite bit of editing. Establishing a smalltown America was a nice choice even if it doesn’t ever pan out as purposeful in the end. 

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre homage opening, which comes back around later deserves applause for the bait and switch. I know teens and sex and horror are a give-in for the genre, but there is one moment that seems so utterly misplaced it’s a full-on facepalm. The CGI is fair at best. I can change the color of my eyes with a Snapchat app. That does not mean I should be making a feature film. The climax of the film is hands down the most interesting but there is no payoff. If you’re going to insinuate that a Taylor Swift-like character has power over people, why not exploit that to its fullest extent. That’s the story! That’s an entire series or franchise. As someone who specializes in genre films, and as a genuine fan of all things scary and magical, Star Light felt less like it was made by experienced filmmakers and more like a local college kid’s project for a class. 

Mitchell Altieri and Lee Cummings’ STAR LIGHT hits Digital and On Demand August 4.