Every so often, I don't mind a movie is a little cheesy or goofy. I've never immersed myself into Roger Corman's stuff (or any of the movies on SyFy that I keep hearing about), nor have I consciously stayed away from them. Nevertheless, I think that the dedication of the cast and crew to the material and the quality of the material itself makes a difference between being a truly memorable bad movie and being potential Rifftrax material. Moreover, on that level is where Super Hybrid finds itself.
Written by Benjamin Carr and directed by Eric Valette, Super Hybrid is both at the surface and all over the promotional material a story of demonic and/or possesses cars in the same vein of Christine and Maximum Overdrive. A driverless muscle car is going through the streets of Chicago, luring people in for a possible drive, only to kill them because as the movie says on the front of the case, "Most cars run on fuel. This one runs on blood." However, in its late night pursuit of sustenance, it gets involved in an accident and is impounded in a police lot. It begins its quest to pick off the workers in the impound lot, and the head of the lot, a guy named Ray (Oded Fehr, Resident Evil: Extinction) and his younger assistants Bobby (Ryan Kennedy, Caprica) and Tilda (Shannon Beckner, American Pie: Beta House). All of this occurs within the first 15-20 minutes of the film, so the rest is devoted to the chase, if you will.
Whether it's the production values or the script itself, the fact that the story gets all of the exposition out of the way so quickly to get to the chase is something that drags the pacing of the film down severely. Fehr, Kennedy and Beckner don't pack enough charisma into the water bottle I'm drinking out of right now, and the supporting cast (read: other members of the impound lot) are the equivalent of the sixth crew member on old Star Trek missions. We know what's going to happen to them, and frankly don't care what or how they interact with the "stars" of the film. I firmly believe they could have gotten a star with some likability for one of the top three roles and this could have been a more enjoyable experience for the film's last 70 minutes. Instead, I was mistaking Kennedy for Jeremy London at every turn.
As for this killer car? Well it sure does look cool in its bodies pre and post-crash and impoundment. However, considering the way the story was outlined, I could have tolerated a couple of minutes to discover why the car what is was and how it became to be that way. Even in The Thing we got to see the creature come from a spaceship and land on Earth, and that took all of a couple of minutes at most. Here, we fear the car, see that it has a black and red type of oil or sludge exuding from it periodically and it's bad. When we see what's causing it, the first reaction isn't really all that surprising, if nothing else because the revelation seems like a lack of creativity to be honest.
It's one thing if Super Hybrid was a good "bad" movie, but it's one that you can't really make fun of for being bad because it's a sloppy effort. The performances and storytelling are lazy, and as much as I wanted to get into the chintzy values that a similar film could convey, this one fails at it shamefully. In not being memorable or easy to crack wise about, it's the worst kind of film, one that's awful regardless of labels or perverse enjoyment.
The Blu-ray Disc:
Presented in 1.78:1 widescreen and in high-definition using the AVC codec, Super Hybrid looks decent. Blacks do have a tendency to crush a little bit and any colors incorporated into the palette appear drab, and image detail is lacking in the foreground and background. That said, film grain is noticeable when viewing the image and flesh tones look natural and without color pushes. If this did appear on television it looks as good as it did at that point, but this is adequate if not unspectacular material.
The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 surround sound track for the film replicates it accurately, though I do have a qualm with the film which I believe lies in the mix. The soundstage keeps the low end involved enough to the point where it's intrusive in the action, requiring adjustment throughout the film constantly because the dialogue is soft. Channel panning is present and effective, though directional effects are scarce. I don't mind strong lossless soundtracks, but a little consistently when listening to them would be appreciated.
The only extra on the disc is a slightly lengthy one, as "Under the Hood" (34:15) is a look at the production featuring loads of insight from the cast and crew as to the story and their thoughts on it. The cast share some additional expounding on the characters they play, and there is even some audition footage here too. The set and production design are touched upon (with surprisingly decent insight by Tom Valentine, the Production Designer) on the challenges of making Canada look like Chicago. The cars and driving stunts are given some time, as well as the makeup and visual effects, and the featurette wraps with some final thoughts by the cast and crew. Granted, the film itself isn't all that, but higher quality films should pay similar attention to this.
Super Hybrid had the potential to be something that was fun and even enjoyable, but fails in its execution and script. Technically it tries to overcompensate and gets in its own way, but the making of piece is better than expected, but if the extras are the only good thing on a disc, that should tell you something. I wouldn't waste your time with this.