There are some truly terrifying issues facing America today. No, I’m not talking about things like manufactured debt crises, secret Muslims or birth certificates. I’m talking about things like financial meltdown, a rapidly disappearing middle class and John Boehner’s fake tan. Seriously, I live in Ohio. No one here looks like that. It’s unnatural. There is one issue that personally frightens me the most, the end of cheap, reliable oil. What starts as $4/gallon gasoline ends with no electricity, refrigeration or temperature control, the end of our modern financial and agricultural systems and any technological innovation since the 1800’s. Just to make this relevant to everyone out there reading this, that includes the Internet. Yeah, terrifying stuff.
Because of that, you would hope that a film about a homicidal hybrid released in 2010 could maybe hit upon some of those deep set, intense fears. With that, I kind of had high hopes that “Super Hybrid” would at least attempt to distance itself from the rest of the direct-to-DVD garbage out there. When you think about it, it’s not that crazy of a hope. There’s nothing sexy or attention grabbing about a killer car movie these days, so it’s an odd choice for the quick cash grab that a lot of these movies seem to be. There’s no washed up cult film star, no ridiculous cleavage on the box, no references to the “Saw” films or their producers or any of the hallmarks of awful direct-to-DVD garbage. On the plus side, “Super Hybrid” does distance itself from those other films. Problem is, it’s not for good reasons.
Obviously, “Super Hybrid” is about a killer car. The film starts with two frat dudes walking home from a bar talking about how they were “this close” to going home with that girl, when they stumble across an unattended sports car in the alley. Naturally, they do what everyone would do in this situation, and break into the car and plan to drive away with it. Those uptight moms must have been right about Grand Theft Auto after all. Jokes on them though as this isn’t your typical “I’m-compensating-for-having-a-small-wang” sports car but actually a bloodthirsty monster car that quickly eats the two and drives off. Though, now that I think about it, if you’re driving around in a car that can literally rip a man apart with tentacles and booming sub-woofers, you’re probably packing a pretty hilariously small penis, so maybe they aren’t that far apart after all.
Regardless, the monster car gets into an accident, disguising the fact that it killed the occupants in venus-flytrap fashion. For some reason that’s not totally apparent to me, instead of being scrapped, the monster car is towed to the Police garage to be repaired on the city’s dime. Wait a minute, maybe Boehner was right after all! The government is repairing dangerous hybrids with our hard-earned tax dollars! Tank the economy!
Sorry, the remainder of the film takes place in this garage as we watch the night crew slowly get picked off by the car in fashion similar to a slasher film. This is where my first complaint with the film comes up. Many of the deaths occur when someone happens to find themselves in the car. Unlike an actual slasher where a good writer can find believable ways to put the protagonists near the killer, this whole premise requires a huge suspension of disbelief. Once it’s clear that there’s a killer car on the loose, why would any character in this film crawl into any vehicle, especially once it’s clear that it can change shape at will? I always feel weird calling films out for logical issues like this, but it’s just asking too much of the viewer.
Granted, the car does also run some of the protagonists over, but that brings up another question. Why don’t they just leave? Unlike an actual slasher film where the killer hunts and stalks their prey regardless of location, the killer here is a car. It’s constrained to the garage. Call it an early night and go home. I’m pretty sure your boss would be okay with you taking the night off after your co-worker gets run over by an embodied, blood-thirsty shape-shifting car. There’s no attempt at explaining why the characters here are really in danger other than them being dumb. I’ve tried to change my oil. Shit’s complicated. I’m pretty sure these mechanics would be able to figure out “hey, I can just go outside and be totally okay” in like 5 minutes. Even “Maximum Overdrive” was able to get around this problem by surrounding the characters with the killer vehicles and trapping them inside. The other way around? Doesn’t work.
Of course, the film has to try to explain why the car is going around killing people. Brace yourself, because I can guarantee you that the answer is way dumber than anything you could possibly think of. So you’d think that the film is called “Super Hybrid” because the car runs on gasoline and blood, making it a hybrid vehicle. Nope. One of the mechanics just happens to have a passing interest in marine biology (I can’t blame him, squid are pretty awesome) and mentions how the car can change it’s shape like some squid species can. He then comments on insects have incredibly strong exoskeletons that act like armor. Naturally, he then deduces that the killer car is actually a hybrid insect-squid monster that can disguise itself as a car. Yup. It’s a disguised ant-squid monster that just happens to have a windshield and functioning trunk. Told you it was dumb.
And that’s really the best word to describe this film, it’s just flat out dumb. Despite having a title that invokes one of the biggest fears of many people, it’s a subpar horror film about one of the dumbest monsters I’ve ever seen. It’s also filled with some of the dumbest characters I’ve watched in a while. While it’s actually decently acted and shot and doesn’t really suffer from any fatal pacing problems (it does drag a slight bit towards the end), it’s just so dumb and bland it doesn’t really justify itself. The box for the film proudly declares that “the new generation of killer car movies is here”. Was anyone waiting for that?