Super Dark Times (2017)

super dark times poster 2017 movie
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 8/10

Original psychological thriller

Liked it better as a psychological look at the results of a crime

Movie Info

Movie Name: Super Dark Times

Studio: Ways & Means

Genre(s): Horror/Drama

Release Date(s):  January 29, 2017 (Rotterdam International Film Festival)/September 29, 2017 (US)

MPAA Rating: Not Rated

super dark times daryl killed max talisman

I hate playing with these guys…

Josh Templeton (Charlie Tahan) and Zach Taylor (Owen Campbell) have been friends for years.  When a winter day out with Daryl Harper (Max Talisman) and Charlie Barth (Sawyer Barth) turns tragic, Josh, Zach, and Charlie find themselves faced with a problem that could destroy them.  As Zach tries to come to terms with the events of the day, he learns that not everyone faces death the same way.

Directed by Kevin Phillips, Super Dark Times is a suspense horror thriller.  The movie premiered at Rotterdam International Film Festival and was well received.

I found Super Dark Times through searching some of the “new” and innovative horror films.  The nostalgia wave was heavy with movies like Summer of 84 and shows like Stranger Things, and Super Dark Times touches on some of those days (it is set in the 1990s) with a story that fits the title.  Due to the story, a ******spoiler alert****** exists for the rest of the review.

super dark times murder owen campbell charlie tahan sawyer barth

Well…things have gone better…

What works best in Super Dark Times is the basic set-up.  Daryl, Charlie, Josh, and Zach aren’t the most popular kids, and goofing off together seems pretty natural…even having to hang out with someone you don’t necessarily like.  What also seems natural is the idea that you could kill someone in an accident while goofing off (my friend and I used to make weapons etc. all the time that could have technically been “deadly”).  Covering the crime in a moment of panic is a very kid thing to do…they are sloppy, and it isn’t necessarily planning as must as shock and needs.

The script takes a weird twist in that the story examines how the crime effects Zach and Josh in different ways.  Zach is in a permanent state of shock and depression (despite receiving interest from his crush Allison played by Elizabeth Cappuccino), while Josh seems to take the road of a person who realizes life could potentially end in a moment…and it breaks him.  I didn’t see the story going where it did and that both works for originality, but it also leaves a lot of questions of the future of the characters in the end.

super dark times josh templeton katana sword charlie tahan

Samurai in action!

The cast is good with the young actors doing their own to hold down the story.  They seem like genuine kids and the horror that they are forced to face creates responses from the actors that are real.  I also like Amy Hargreaves as Zach’s mother who can tell something is up with her son but like a lot of parents is trying to convince him to tell her without demanding answers.

The movie looks strong too.  The setting in the recent past once again is a bit of a means to eliminate a lot of the technological problems (aka social media and cellphones), but it does work a bit better balancing the idea of it being set in the 1990s than some of the other nostalgia based films.

Super Dark Times was a solid film and worth seeking out.  It could be more horrific, but the film is at its best when it is looking at the psychology of committing a horrible crime and has a lot of similarities to Mean Creek (2004).  Kids goof off and do not think about consequences…and you could be those kids that it does not go well for.  The psychological thriller has been done many times before, but it feels like Super Dark Times gives the genre a nice, new twist that is more thoughtful than many other entries.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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