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"Super Dark Times" (2017) Review and Explanation

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Poster for "Super Dark Times"

Poster for "Super Dark Times"

What's Super Dark Times About?

It's 1996 and Zack and Josh have been friends for a long time. They are typical teenagers who love a good dare, talking about girls, and figuring out what makes one person popular and another a loser.

Super Dark Times tells how a guilty conscience and fear of being caught doing something wrong can affect us all differently. After an afternoon of fun, four boys discover just how far one person can go when life gets turned on its head.

Will anyone believe Zack before it's too late?

Super Dark Times Cast, Budget, and Release Details

  • Written By: Ben Collins and Luke Piotrowski.
  • Released: September 2017.
  • Genre: dramatic thriller.
  • Super Dark Times cast includes Charlie Tahan, Elizabeth Cappuccino, and Owen Campbell.
  • USA Box Office: just over $300,000.
  • Rotten Tomatoes Audience gave it 3.8/5, and IMDb gave it 6.5/10.

Spoiler Alert!

This article contains spoilers clearly marked at the end of the review. If you have questions about this film, ask them in the comments section! Otherwise, read ahead at your own peril.

Trailer for the Super Dark Time Movie

Super Dark Times Review

The cast for The Super Dark Times movie is full of recognizable faces. Starring Owen Campbell, Elizabeth Cappuccino, Charlie Tahan, and Amy Hargreaves among its core leads, there is so much chemistry drenched within the atmospheric tension there is nothing to complain about here. For me personally, however, Charlie Tahan steals the show. Simply brilliant in his role as Josh, you might recognize him from other smash TV series and films like I am Legend, the Ozark series, the Wayward Pines TV show, and Gotham. Offset by Owen Campbell as Zach, their dynamic on-screen was a pleasure to watch.

Super Dark Times is a difficult movie to digest and the ending of the film left many viewers baffled. The title itself is very much a slow burn but has enough interest both in its dark and sunset-colored cinematography and within the narrative as well. In a tweet to the director about certain symbolism in this film, there are enough clues to put together a thorough explanation for the movie. One's ability to untangle the thread is up to the viewer. Those that miss vital points will probably not enjoy this film. Overall, the film is a solid portrayal of how one error in judgment can change your life forever.

A lot of plot points within Super Dark Times are tethered to the guilt and paranoia of the scene that set the ball rolling down a very steep hill. As the friends hang out in the forest, one of the boys, Daryl, is stabbed in the neck with a Katana.

The Super Dark Times movie sets about almost in slow motion. Plodding along with beats that lead to a cataclysmic event. From the view of the audience, hints of trouble brewing are all in place. Drugs, boredom, and an argument are the pivotal ingredients for bad things to happen. Afterward, everyone involved changes in some way. Zach begins having night terrors, and Zach simply plays truant. Josh’s mum, oblivious with love to the possibility that his new mood might be connected with news from the town hit home for me. It's easy for situations and life to take an unpleasant turn, especially as a teenager, not having the life experience to make the right choices.

Super Dark Times is the type of film that fills the viewer with a constant palpable dread for the tightrope many teenagers face simply trying to navigate their way through life. That any youth face really. In some ways teens can be likened to that turtles: Dozens get released into the ocean, some make it, but some don’t. Picked off by predators, or simply unable to swim the distance. The poor decisions of Josh and Zach, lead the group into situations that end poorly for everyone but I think they are mostly right.

Like the title, the entire film is dark and moody with some camera shots so detailed there was enough information in them to apply symbolic meanings to them. For example, the opening scene shows a piece of paper flutter through the deer-shaped cracked glass to denote that this is a film that will eventually turn dark. Not only that, but the opening scenes include a moose being killed by a cop. We know early on that violence is a key element in this movie.

The runtime for this movie at 100 minutes is what enables the narrative not to take a nosedive and over-complicate itself like others I watched in 2017 (like A Cure for Wellness) with writers restraining from adding too much or too little to the cinematography and script to fine-tune everything.

The runtime for this movie at 100 minutes enabling a tight narrative never becoming bogged down or over-complicated. Super Dark Times is a film you could easily watch again, armed with possible answers to unanswered questions or theories to make it even more entertaining or meaningful. In this instance, I have a spoiler section marked below for just that purpose. I enjoyed this film. Not too heavy and not too light, it ticks all the boxes and still has me wondering about whether we have seen the last of this story.

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I enjoyed this film. Not too heavy and not too light, it ticks all the boxes and still has me wondering about whether we have seen the last of this story.

I give Super Dark Times 4 packets of dried squid out of 5.

Charlie Tahan is amazing in this film. He couldn't be more perfect if he tried.

Charlie Tahan is amazing in this film. He couldn't be more perfect if he tried.

Super Dark Times Explained (Spoilers)

Here are some explanations for some of the symbolism present in the film. There are some major spoilers ahead so if you have not yet watched the movie, please do so before reading!!!

The Death of the Deer in Super Dark Times

Having an opening scene so dire and so solemn gets used to provoke the feeling that it will only get worse from here. It sets the tone for the entire film.

Having Alison watch the event unfold with wide eyes as the deer receives a slow death instead of a quick one leads her to have her own emotional awakening.

Does Joshs' Brother Die in Super Dark Times

The change in Josh is correlated with the death of Daryl and his mother's portrayal as overly protective. Being overprotective could be a sign that her first-born has died. His mom allows him to stay at home for a length of time. Josh is quick to anger at any questions about his brother. He also takes people into his brother's room, two of which aren't known to him that well. He never says when his brother will be coming home.

Why Did He Go After Alison?

Josh and Zach look through a yearbook and Alison is someone they are both interested in. Zach mentions hanging out with Alison sparking a flame of jealousy early in the piece from Josh.

When Daryl dies, Zach becomes flooded with guilt and overwhelming emotions that restrict him from responding to Alison the way he would like. Jealousy is reignited in Josh and his behaviour takes on a new persona. He seemingly has no rationale. The director's abilities shine through as Josh is often shot from below after becoming erratic making him look like a villain before he even shows he is one. He becomes somewhat cartoon-like with the sky's reflection in his glasses.

Zach begins to have nightmares and his world of teenage lust for Alison and Josh's sudden strange behaviour blur together. It is easy to spot when Josh is dreaming as he is without his red cast.

The Ending of Super Dark Times With Alison

Any explanation you dream up can apply to Josh and Zach's story. Perhaps Josh went to Gaol and Zach moved away with his mom. Alison was just the love interest to propel Josh and Zach's story right? Seeing how she survived, that much is certain. Her scars get shown before she covers them with her hair showing she can keep them hidden and hide her past, or put her hair up and show people her past does not define her.

In an interview, the director Kevin Phillips mentioned that we as humans are mostly caught up in our own lives and our own turmoil. We forget that people who pass by have their own story (just as Alison does.) The end scene shows that Alison had things in her life other characters were unaware of that had no bearing on Zach or Josh's story. Life goes on if you choose it to and you have scars to remind you of your past.

Read the Theory Below and Answer the Poll

Theories on Super Dark Times

Is Alison a villain too? Hear me out. The more I apply this idea to the story, the more evidence I find to back it up. It's clear Josh acted on his own to kill Daryl and John but was Alison in on it with him? Did she enjoy his dark side?

  • Alison sees the police bashing the deer to put it out of its misery and doesn't look away in disgust. Instead, her eyes are wide in astonishment.
  • Josh is instantly fired up when Zach tells him he and Alison spent time together because they were already together.
  • Daryl was universally unpopular. Josh fights Daryl because he took the weed and then gives it away to Alison shortly after. Josh killed Daryl on purpose because he didn't like him. He didn’t care about the weed.
  • Alison tells Zach that Josh has a crush on her and acts like nothing is going on. She wants Zach anyway, despite the friendship between him and Josh. Is she doing it for Josh?
  • Megan's shown seriously injured, yet Alison has only superficial cuts to the back of her neck and was restrained poorly.
  • Not knowing either Josh or Zach's fate leaves it open for a sequel. Alison could say Zach did it.
  • The camera shows a boy sitting behind Alison in class while she traces her scars with her fingers. She puts her hair down trying to keep his attention. She can't hide her scars from him, he has already seen them.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2018 Movie Whisperer


Hdhs on January 01, 2019:

I think

Movie Whisperer (author) from Moreton Bay, Queensland on July 17, 2018:

Interesting take Spel. Thanks for commenting.

Spel on July 17, 2018:

Zach was movin on up out of nerd clic,still a nice dude,josh got sick crazy jealous,josh wanted zach for himself,nobody,male or female could be down with zach except Josh's nerdy,funny,psychotic ass.dead it

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