Super HybridOverview -
Late one night, a mysterious car is brought into the Chicago police impound garage after a deadly traffic accident. The garage's female mechanic, Tilda, and her young, hip fellow mechanics soon discover the car has a mind of its own: it morphs into different cars to confuse them and instead of needing an engine to run, it breathes. It's a killing machine that is capable of outrunning and outwitting humans. In a high-octane fight to the death, it's our group of determined humans versus the car in this supernatural action-adventure in the vein of Stephen King's 'Christine' and 'Transformers.'
Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take
So that movie happened. Sigh.
The cover of 'Super Hybrid' states that this is the "new generation of killer car movies." There was an old generation of killer car movies? Are there even enough killer car movies in the past to actually categorize them as being a generation in and of themselves? I'm so perplexed here. What's even more confounding is the explanation for this supposed killer car. It's not a killer "car" at all. More on that later on.
There's a car that drives around the city, lures people into its seats, and then devours them. You know, like cars do. At first I theorized that this car just hadn't had the proper care from its owner – like timely oil changes – and in an act of rebellion it took its anger out on an unsuspecting public. The next time your car's Check Engine light comes on, make sure to get it looked at, if you don't, it may eat you.
Anyway, if you were a man-eating car, and your survival counted on you being a safe driver, why would you be speeding through stoplights and driving blindly through alleyways? Wouldn't you want to blend in and not draw attention to your bad self? No such luck here. Along with eating humans, this car is also a douchebag driver. This gets him in trouble when he's involved in a wreck because he didn't stop and look both ways. Now he's been transferred to a police impound for the night. This unlucky for the crew that's working the impound that night because they've unwittingly become pre-packaged meals for a hungry car.
Ray (Oded Fehr) is the hardened garage leader. Fehr fills in that much needed "I know I know that actor from somewhere" role. Yep, you know him from 'The Mummy' among other things. Here he tries on a ridiculous accent and recites even more ridiculous dialogue. Tilda (Shannon Beckner) is a girl mechanic. Gasp! I know. It was hard for me to believe too, but she's a badass chick. She can take on man-eating cars without flinching. Hell, she's hit head on by a speeding car twice in this movie and walks away with nothing more than a limp and a few abrasions.
Now you know what the movie is about. The hungry car stalks its prey in the garage and starts offing the workers one by one. If you're interested in the movie, stop reading now. There be spoilers below.
Remember when I said that the killer car isn't really a killer car at all? Well, that's right. Turns out the car is simply a lizard/octopus alien hybrid who has the power to shapeshift. Why it continuously decides to be a car is just silly. Essentially it could transform into anything and eat people just as easily, but it keeps becoming a car over and over. I couldn't think of a more awkward weapon than a car. Especially in the small confines of a parking garage. Needless to say, there's a lot of three-point turns going on.
My favorite part of the movie comes when the characters find out that they're dealing with a shape-shifting lizard. They totally take it in stride. It doesn't faze them at all. One guy discusses the fact that he studied a squid in college that could shape shift into rocks and coral and then attack unsuspecting prey. Yeah, because this is totally the same thing!
Like so many of these hokey horror movies (e.g. 'Dinocroc' or 'Sharktopus') the graphics here are stunningly bad. That's okay though, because who cares right? It's a movie about a giant lizard with tentacles that can turn itself into various vehicles. That's about all that you need to know.
The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
'Super Hybrid' is an Anchor Bay release. It has standard Blu-ray packaging, has been pressed on a BD50, and is indicated to be a region A release.
For a low-budget horror movie 'Super Hybrid' looks decent enough. The opening aerial shot of a busy freeway at night is about the best the movie gets. Blacks and shadows are nicely delineated there. The soft glow of the street lamps add to the look.
Problems arise when the movie moves inside the garage. Crushing is often part of the experience as shadows gobble up faces, clothes, and cars. There's some digital noise here and there. Skintones, at times, seem too pumped up giving the actors a bronze-ish hue. Other times, however, they look natural. It's pretty hit and miss. Since most of the movie is set in a darkened car garage, the crushing really makes it hard to watch at times.
The worst visuals come from the extremely sub-par, low-budget special effects. They just look terrible. It's clear that they didn't have the money nor the means to create believable special effects, but in high definition the shape-shifting lizard looks a little more like a giant green blob with wavy tentacles. It has little to no detail. It just looks bad. With that said, this isn't the worst I've seen. This isn't even the worst DTV presentation I've seen. It's simply mediocre.
'Super Hybrid' offers a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 surround sound presentation. I rather enjoyed this soundtrack. Where the video fails the sound succeeds. Yes, most of it is intentionally full of LFE-ridden jump scares, but when the wheels start turning there's a good amount of fun to be had here.
I can't count the number of times the killer car burned its rubber trying to chase down the tasty humans, but whenever it did, the squeal of the tires smoking on the pavement echoed throughout the sound field. Panning effects worked smoothly as cars zoom in and out of the frame. LFE is constantly pumping, whether it be for the "scary" soundtrack or for crashing effects as the killer car pulverizes every vehicle in sight.
The movie may be corny as hell, the video may be effects may be over-the-top silly, but this audio presentation is the best part of this release. It's actually pretty well done.
- Under the Hood of 'Super Hybrid' (HD, 34 min.) — This making of featurette gave me a few good chuckles. I love how the filmmakers talk about this movie like they were seriously trying to create a good horror movie. My favorite part is when one of the producers admits that it's hard to go to financiers and ask them to fund a movie about a killer car, but they were able to woo them with the quality of the script. Ha! That's a good one.
I can't fathom why anyone (not even Nate Boss!) would want to buy this, unless they really like bad B-movies. This isn't a fun experience like a Roger Corman feature, this is a pretty painful one like so many of the other DTV monster movies out there. It does have its unintentionally funny moments, and could do with a good riffing. Only check this one out if you aren't expecting much to begin with. Even then, it may still sink below your expectations.
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