“I was in The motherfucking Wire!” I imagine that thought was running through the head of Paul Ben-Victor as he grouched his way through The Super, director Stephan Rick’s aggregation of horror movie clichés set in a Manhattan apartment building. Creepy clown toys, off-key music-box melodies, close-ups of hyper-sharpened pencils, partially obscured killer’s-eye-view shots: Rick stacks one overworked trope atop another so dutifully that you’d think he was bricking someone up in a basement. The basement, incidentally, is where widowed ex-cop Phil Lodge (Patrick John Flueger) moves into with his two daughters, Violet and Rose (played by Taylor Richardson and Mattea Conforti, respectively) after he takes a job as a building superintendent. As tenants begin mysteriously disappearing — the murders are depicted onscreen, but the bodies vanish before anyone finds them — Phil decides to investigate. His prime suspect is creepy fellow handyman Walter (Val Kilmer; yes, really), who whispers occult rituals down by the furnace and has taken an interest in young Rose. Naturally, not everything is what it seems; there are a couple of necessary untruths even in this plot synopsis. But the part where it seems like some excellent actors have been roped into propping up a hopelessly by-the-numbers horror movie? That’s totally on the level.
Stephan RickVal Kilmer, Patrick John FluegerJohn J. McLaughlinSaban Films