The great Val Kilmer takes on the title role in 2017’s The Super, a horror-mystery-thriller set in a high-rise New York apartment building. It’s great to see Kilmer back on form, offering-up a tremendously chilly performance as the superintendent who appears to be behind a slew of disappearances in the former bank building.
Patrick John Flueger is Phil Lodge, the single parent who takes up his new job as the labyrinthine building’s latest Super. Something’s amiss from the very start and Lodge soon believes Kilmer’s senior caretaker, Walter is responsible for the strange goings on.
In recent years Val Kilmer has been mainly absent from the big screen due to ill health and it’s great to see him back with a meaty role. Across his career, Kilmer has been a actor who is difficult to pin down – from Top Gun to The Doors and Batman Forever to Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, he’s always taken bold character choices and delivered note perfect performances across a variety of genres. He hasn’t really dabbled in horror, save for 2010’s The Traveller and 2011’s Francis Ford Coppola experiment Twixt, so it’s good to see him get his creep on as the magic practising handyman. His vocal delivery might be a little off due to his battle with throat cancer but he’s still able to turn in a well balanced performance which adds some weight to the film when it teeters on the brink of silliness. Kilmer has never really embraced the horror genre before (although the afore mentioned Twixt teetered on the brink) and it’s good to see him deliver a different type of performance. Has there ever been a movie actors as underused and under appreciated as Val Kilmer?
German director Stephen Rick’s film sets its atmospheric tone with a wonderfully creepy opening and it manages to give some solid scares as well as a few surprises across its running time. The screenplay by Black Swan writer John J. Mclaughlin might not be wholly successful in its twists and turns but there’s enjoyment to be had in this good-looking pic. Flueger makes a solid lead and Louisa Krause, Paul Ben-Victor and Yul Vazquezare give quirky character support, but this is Kilmer’s film – despite his limited screen time.
Chilling, thrilling and a little silly, The Super is a horror film which attempts to play with convention. It’s not totally successful – but it’s worth checking out for Val Kilmer’s performance alone.