Review: ‘Super Hybrid’ (2011) Is a Killer Car Movie
...mostly because it slaughters a fun premise
There’s nothing more terrifying than a man-eating car going 15 mph.
Well, technically there is–but that’s the scariest thing you’ll find in Super Hybrid, a 2011 Canadian B-movie which received limited American home media distribution. What else would you expect from the director of the US remake of One Missed Call and the producer of Punisher: War Zone?
Super Hybrid draws heavily from Stephen King’s Christine and sci-fi horror classics Predator and Alien–“heavily” meaning combining them into one bizarre product. It’s certainly a tolerable movie, but its camp-heavy premise is squandered on a mild PG-13 approach and way-too-serious execution.
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The Closest Super Hybrid Gets to a Plot
A sentient, shape-shifting car (which can take the form of any automobile) prowls the streets of Chicago, devouring unsuspecting victims it lures into itself. After sustaining a damage in a collision with a speeding car, the monstrous vehicle is impounded in a multi-level police garage. As the vehicle begins hunting mechanics working overnight at the facility, its malevolent nature is revealed to the garage’s occupants. Both the employees and the creature are trapped in the garage, and the people must outwit the alien-like car to avoid becoming its next victims.
It’s never revealed what the vehicle actually is. After seeing its tentacles under the hood, the characters speculate it might be an ancient squid-like creature which camouflages itself like automobiles. Other characters think it’s an alien from Area 51.
The Good: Its Technical Aspects
The best aspect of Super Hybrid is, fittingly, the vehicle. The scenes in which it hunts and takes out the garage’s occupants are over-the-top and hilariously entertaining. The sound of the vehicle’s engine is replaced with animal-like growls and shrieks, allowing the vehicle to sneak up on people without being heard. The way the vehicle is driven effectively makes it appear sentient, creeping up on and circling its prey. As a “character,” it’s well-executed.
The soundtrack, cinematography, and CGI effects are fairly respectable too.
The Bad: Its Writing and Tone
However, the film suffers from multiple problems–primarily the characters and the dialogue. Because of its limited budget and attempt to take itself seriously, the majority of scenes are stiff, awkward conversations between the film’s characters as they bicker and rationalize the situation. But, the film has no actual logic behind it, and as it attempts to prove it does, the audience’s interest wanes.
The film’s protagonist, introduced as a lingerie-clad sex object, clearly mimics Sigourney Weaver’s transformation to brutal survivor in Alien, but without the likability.
The film’s one F-bomb is wasted on an under-the-breath curse, and there’s no triumphant kill-line uttered at the climax. It would’ve been rewarding to at least get a “You’ve been recalled, you piece of [expletive]!” or “[Expletive] you, I’m taking the bus!” Instead, we have to endure cardboard characters making poor, nonsensical decisions.
The killer hybrid’s favored form is a matte black 1976 Chevrolet Nova–what it reverts to whenever it can. When hunting people, it turns into many different models, including:
- red Chevrolet Corvette Z06
- indigo 1985 Chevrolet C-10
- robin’s egg blue 1969 Chevrolet K-20
- yellow 1971 Dodge Charger
- 1973 Mercury Marquis Colony Park with faux-wood siding
Of course, all brand identification has been removed, but that doesn’t detract from the fine selection of automobiles used in the film.
Super Hybrid obviously isn’t a great film, but neither is it entertainingly campy or agonizingly bad. It’s merely a forgettable, weak production. If it was a little goofier, it could be a lot of fun (with or without alcohol). But, despite its polished appearance, its true nature is disappointingly uneventful.
Watch the trailer yourself and get a taste of Super Hybrid:
Aaron is unashamed to be a native Clevelander and the proud driver of a 1995 Saturn SC-2 (knock on wood). He gleefully utilizes his background in theater, literature, and communication to dramatically recite his own articles to nearby youth. Mr. Widmar happily resides in Dayton, Ohio with his magnificent wife, Vicki, but is often on the road with her exploring new destinations. Aaron has high aspirations for his writing career but often gets distracted pondering the profound nature of the human condition and forgets what he was writing… See more articles by Aaron.