Starring Charlie Tahan, Owen Campbell, Sawyer Barth
Directed by Kevin Phillips
Director Kevin Phillips’ Super Dark Times takes the bonds of friendship and pits it against the horrific ramifications of an accident – just how strong are these ties, and are these fastenings the type that can sever a relationship?
The time is around the mid 90’s (judging by some of the soundtrack choices), and the film is following the everyday activity of a quartet of pals, just as their high-school passages begin to take shape – we’ve got close buds Josh (Tahan) and Zach (Campbell), with Charlie (Barth), and the ever-so-annoying Daryl (Max Talisman) in tow. The conversations range between the utter loneliness of sullen superheroes, to which female classmates are ripe for the pickins’ – you know, basic teen stuff…well, at least it was back in the day. In any fashion, this foursome seems harmless enough, but one day boredom leads to trouble, and that’s when a tragedy occurs – it’s one of those “holy shit!” moments that had me jumping back in my seat, and the group now finds themselves with a dilemma unlike anything they’ve ever had to contend with. As I mentioned earlier, the bonds of accord between school-chums seemingly becomes irreparably fractured when facing such a traumatic scenario, and Phillips places the onus on the attitudes and subsequent dealings of the teens – this is so much more than a “teen-thriller/drama” as the layers get peeled back over the film’s duration, and we almost witness a complete turnaround of personas.
What works with the film is not only the odd relationship that this small group has, but the notion that after the ultimate mishap has taken place, we get to see the varying attempts of how to deal with it – there’s shock, ignorance, deceit and betrayal. Seems like a lot for these adolescents to take in, but each and every performance is off-the-charts with conviction, and the icing on the cake here is the cinematography – with a Autumnal vibe to it, and the essence of dusk colors coupled with gloomy skies – for a film that is ultimately depressing, it’s a beautiful thing to look at. Imagery alone doesn’t do this film justice, as it’s the subject matter and polarizing decisions of the characters is what gives this movie its bracing – looking for a watch that will hang in your mind long after the credits roll? This is the one to check out for sure – highly recommended.
Super Dark Times is dark, brooding and ultimately heartbreaking to witness, but it manages to reel you in and not let go.