Super Hybrid (2011)


Super Hybrid
Starring Oded Fehr, Shannon Beckner, Adrien Dorval, Ryan Kennedy, Melanie Papalia, John Reardon

Directed by Eric Valette

Neither a bad movie nor a particularly good movie, but if you find yourself in the mood for a ridiculous monster movie about mechanics trapped in an underground garage with a squid-like creature capable of disguising itself as an automobile, then Super Hybrid will keep you reasonably entertained for an hour and a half.

The only speculation we get as to the nature of this beast is a wild theory that it functions the same as a certain breed of squid does by disguising itself as part of its surroundings or other animals to avoid detection and better lure in prey, the idea being that this animal has been around for ages hiding in plain sight and evolved to the point of now having the ability to camouflage itself as an automobile. A fascinating notion unless you stop to think about the logistics of how a tentacle monster that looks like it would have been right at home in Deep Rising can create a physical facade complete with functioning wheels. Far-fetched to say the least, and like the rest of the film, played completely deadpan without a trace of self-awareness as to how campy this concept is.

The movie opens with the hungry monster car, which can morph into various vehicular designs and views the world via red-tinted Daredevil vision, turning itself into an exotic sports car to lure a pair of would-be car thieves into climbing in to their death. It then speeds off, gets hit by an oncoming vehicle, and ends up impounded in the City of Chicago’s underground garage. Still not clear if the monster was knocked unconscious by the traffic accident (yet still had the mental capacity to keep its disguise up) or merely felt the need to play along to avoid revealing itself in public.

Oded Fehr of The Mummy movies is the boss of the garage, less a hardass than just an ass. He’s ex-military, claims to have done some big game hunting, and lives in a perpetual state of dick swinging. Even as he and his crew find themselves on lockdown in their garage with a shapeshifting vehicular predator, his top concern appears to still be that the others might start taking their marching orders from someone other than himself. Priorities, people!

Okay, you’ve just discovered the existence of something so unbelievable your mind should be blown, something that has already killed some of your friends and coworkers and is now coming after you; would your very first thought really be the money you could make if you found a way to capture it alive? Would the first two steps in your plan be to ensure no outside authorities are contacted and you remain trapped in the same location with this lethal attacker?

The only one not succumbing to such idiocy is Tilda (the increasingly greasy Shannon Beckner). She has a deadbeat boyfriend wanting her to do free repairs on his sports car, a douchebag boss who looks down on her for being a pushover, and considers a sports bra to be proper workplace attire for a civil servant auto mechanic. Better believe she’s going to take charge, kick ass, and become the Ripley of this Alien.

Thereafter the movie consists of this small group of city auto mechanics in their multi-level underground garage going back and forth between playing hunter and hunted as the 2011 Pontiac Cthulu transforms into different models of cars and trucks to chase them around and chow down on them with its tentacles. I must say it was nice of the monster car to take a breather now and then to allow them time to build somewhat elaborate elevator shaft vehicular death traps.

As silly as the monster’s nature is, I kind of dug it – it’s different, that’s for darn sure. As Syfy-ish as the premise sounds, a higher budget allowed for production values quite slick for a flick about a morphing, man-eating squid-mobile. I just wished the movie had allowed the creature more freedom on the open road. If you’re going to cross-breed The Car with Jaws, don’t hinder it by setting nearly the entire film in the cramped quarters of a garage.

If you can overlook some of the annoyingly dumb decisions certain character make and don’t mind the outlandish nature of this beast, you probably won’t mind taking Super Hybrid out for a spin. You’ll definitely need a Class B driver’s license before operating this vehicle.

3 out of 5

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