Super Dark Times Screen 83 of 6 reviews

Super Dark Times

2017

Super Dark Times Poster
  • What follows is out of the "What Not To Do" playbook, but what elevates "Super Dark Times" above similar fare is its devotion to the harrowing emotional fallout of such an event. These young actors are phenomenal in their ability to go as deep as they do. Screaming and crying and shouting, they never feel like little psychos. They feel like panicked, pimpled boys, which they are. With each scene, the boys look younger and more vulnerable.

  • The film is unthinkable and yet it is resonant and relevant. There is a beautiful world, hanging in the background but, as Phillips’ shows us, there will be no future if male desire goes unfettered. If Locker Room Talk is normalised then just how far away is the complete and utter denial of the value of another human life? According to Phillips, whose film’s score is like a heartbeat quickening every time raw masculinity unleashes itself, it is very close, indeed.

  • For a first-time director, Phillips has an unusually strong handle on the finer arts of setting a mood and evoking time and place. Through his lens, an average town in upstate New York carries the gray, lonely, foreboding quality that seeps under his characters' skins just as much as the incident that sends them over the edge. Whatever the story's failings, his impression of teenage life in the mid-'90s lingers potently enough to forgive a little.

  • Phillips is a strong filmmaker, but he's working from a rickety screenplay. Its second half focuses almost entirely on the kid who's coping by moping around, so the mostly off-screen transformation of a typical teen into a serial killer isn't credible, compared to the film's portrait of idle suburban adolescence. But together the filmmakers build a lot of tension leading to the climax, which depicts just how out of hand things involving teenagers left to stew in their own feelings can get.

  • The nightmare sequences he hazards are carefully mapped and scary, and thanks to confident performances by his young cast, the potentially I Know What You Did Last Summer–esque premise gains something of the timeless weight of a River’s Edge.

  • Strikingly shot, edited and scored, with convincing and vivid performances from a youthful cast, the picture loses its footing in the final stretch... There's also a whiff of Super 8 and Stranger Things here and there, but Super Dark Times has sufficient distinctive flavor to avoid feeling excessively referential or derivative.

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