Mar 7, 2011
Some things are best left undiscovered. This I have learned after viewing many, many independent horror films with big aspirations. The normal course taken by these forgettable reminders that all can purchase a camera mostly falls on the shoulders of a near-sighted "director" with a grandiose vision including the phrases "homage", "throwback", or even "grindhouse". I am happy to report that The Super is none of these things for it has enough sense to deviate from its originally plotted plan, be it accident or chance. The directing duo, Brian Weaver and Evan Makrogiannis, stray far enough from the fashion of disease-stricken horror and assemble upon an utterly weird state of mind found in the lead character, George Rossi. What occurs isn't so much as what fell upon Polanski's character in The Tenant but from a similar vein. Such an afflicted soul can only take so much frustration before exploding and the shocking and morbid outcome of The Super is where the talent of storytelling was hiding all along.
George Rossi serves as "the Super", short for superintendent. Taking the presumed family business over, this precarious Vietnam veteran has settled down with his beautiful handicapped wife and daughter in the apartment complex run by his truly. Greeting two new tenants, a strange interracial couple consisting of an appropriate African and an alternative, edgy Jewess played by Ruby Larocca, George Rossi makes it very clear of his seemingly honest intentions and fairness. What lies beyond, however, is the crushing pressure from his ever-moody wife to stand up to his tenants and to relocate upstate. Eventually, all this hostility paired with George's bouts of sadistic voyeurism, consume his being and leads him to striking a dynamic and odd relationship with Olga (portrayed by actress Manoush--a woman of German-American and Sinti tribe gypsy ancestry whose brilliant acting enables her to pass for an authentic Russian) which can only culminate in one thing - murder. The Super takes this off-commitment with exaggerating the very psychosis torturing the venerable patriot and proves its mutability. How? By dipping the very process of neo-exploitation into the irresolute subgenre of pseudo-snuff only to yank it back up and flaunt its withstanding of surefire horror poison.
Another thing plaguing these digital films, horror being the number one offender, is the lack of an aesthetic. The Super replaces the need for its biggest shortcoming by introducing lucid, vibrant hues and lighting upon the decadent set of the basement. The benefits of having such a dirty and degenerate lead psychopath are the endless results that can be achieved with a raunchy disregard for life. George Rossi stamps his feet around the apartment complex, cursing "Jew bastards", "Wops", and the ilk. The secondary offender and catalyst to this situation is Olga, the pay-for-service dominatrix on the top floor who has ignored the rent for two months. After helping George out of quite a jam, a crude one at that, the two descend, knife-in-hand, into a bizarre string of aggro-murders (are there any other kind?) with profit and isolation being the only thing on ones mind. What propels Manoush' character into a realm neglected by the majority of low budget horror films is the methodology behind her murders. This is gleefully authenticated with a flashback segment directed by Soiled Sinema favorite Andrey Iskanov. Starring himself as Olga's father, Iskanov downs what is probably the cheapest vodka and presumes to graphically rape his daughter, all in signature form. I'd be lying if I didn't rank this the greatest scene within The Super. If not for Iskanov returning to horror once more than for a segment that does Olga's sickness justice. I am honestly tiring of these stalwart psychopaths without indication of psychopathy - a visual diorama of inciting trauma goes a long way.
Although The Super is built off the foundation of a veteran angst chronicle, it makes sure not to tip over into the realm of previous contenders Combat Shock or Taxi Driver. Rather, Weaver and Makrogiannis put light to the passive evil and dichotomy between persuasion and temptation. Oh, but of course there must be something to fault The Super with and the scene transitions are pulled to the plate. The Super is generally consistent about its format, but when scenes suddenly transition, you'll catch hints of artificial film grain and scratches, the likes of which would be caused by repeated showings for decades. The acting can vary as well. I found the death rapper Necro's performance to be fluctuating in quality. On one hand, his sadism shines on screen, undoubtedly in a scene involving a forced blowjob, but during his sideshow detective act, seems frigid. Perhaps the lifestyle of which he lives prevents him from passing off normality as his behavior of choice. Regardless of these minor setbacks, The Super stands as one of the few horror films that I've seen in some time that left me satiated. It may not ooze class or represent a high-brow art form, but regardlessly, it is an oft-peculiar look at the cleverly hidden absent-mindedness of a man with so many heads to account for.
Posted by Soiled Sinema at 9:51 PM
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