Tilda’s (Shannon Beckner) life is less than perfect: her boyfriend is a layabout body builder who refuses to work because of a back injury, her boss (Oded Fehr) is a sexist asshat who has just passed her over for a promotion and her estranged nephew (Ryan Kennedy) talks about her behind her back.
She works at the 29th District Garage in Chicago, the place where all the accident vehicles go. The garage’s latest resident is a near-totaled Chevrolet Nova with a matte black paint job.
Only this isn’t just any old car: it’s actually a shape-shifting, man-eating killing machine! With the garage closed for renovations over the weekend and our band of misfits sealed in, it is a race to survive against nature’s smartest – and most devious – predator.
Director Eric Valette is a Frenchman perhaps best known for the awful One Missed Call, while writer Benjamin Carr was involved in the Tony Shalhoub haunted house flick Thir13en Ghosts. Not a great pedigree, but Super Hybrid (or Hybrid, the title it was released under in Australia) is better than might you expect.
The pacing is good, the plot gets us from A to B very quickly and the characters are all surprisingly well fleshed out for a horror movie. Then there’s the monster itself. Played by eight different cars – among them a Chevrolet C-10 and a Mercury Colony Park – the titular super hybrid is the most sinister car I’ve seen since Christine.
Though killer cars are nothing new (take The Wraith, The Car and the aforementioned Christine) and the fact its plot borrows liberally from the likes of The Thing, Super Hybrid manages to retain its own identity.
It’s not high art – few horror movies are – but it is an enjoyable flick with a swift 84 minute runtime, a tight script and solid acting across the board.
I have but two gripes with Super Hybrid: Tilda’s transformation from humble auto mechanic to Ellen Ripley-wannabe happens way too fast and some of the CG looks like it was taken from a video game from the mid-‘90s.
Other than that, it’s a fun little popcorn flick for both car lovers and horror lovers. 3 stars out of 5.
By Tristan Hankins