REVIEW: Super Dark Times

This is the fifth and final installment of Taylor’s “Final [Film] Countdown of 2017,” in which he rushes to watch as many good movies from 2017 as possible before the year’s Oscars ceremony.

It’s been about 20 minutes since the movie finished and I think my heart’s just beginning to settle down. Super Dark Times is an incredible movie that had me hooked in dread and tension like few others this year, although its commitment to tone leaves its final 10 minutes a bit rushed and a bit confusing.

The story is about two friends, Zach and Josh, who are typical teenagers until a horrific act of violence occurs that permanently affects their friendship. Those who know me know some of my favorite movies are about the slow-motion dissolution of relationships (The Social NetworkThe World’s End500 Days of Summer, etc.), so this was right up my alley. However, what keeps it shy of my best-of lists is that I’m not sure Josh’s arc gets fully followed. While Zach’s story is very well-told, his friend’s is ambiguous to a fault–it helps Zach’s story, but it leaves Josh’s actions in the third act seemingly completely irrational.

That said, the movie’s tense, paranoid vibe is incredible. Dream sequences are used sparingly but effectively to illustrate Zach’s untethering from reality. The acting by Owen Campbell (Zach), Elizabeth Cappuccino (Alison) and Sawyer Barth (Charlie) are all really remarkable, especially for their age.

In many ways, this film reminds me of Ingrid Goes West, another fascinating and haunting film that had some issues sticking the landing. Super Dark Times is a total thrill ride, but in the end, I’m not sure whether it had something more to say.

Best Part: From about 20 minutes left to 3 minutes left.

Worst Part: The final 3 minutes. Alternately, the absurd amounts of profanity used in the first 20 minutes.

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