Well-made but generic, the thriller “The Super” is noteworthy primarily for featuring one of Val Kilmer’s first substantial roles since recovering from throat cancer. Director Stephan Rick works around the actor’s infirmities, but Kilmer’s offbeat charisma remains unmistakable.
Patrick John Flueger stars as Phil Lodge, an ex-cop and widower, who takes a job as a superintendent at an upscale New York City apartment complex, in the hopes of providing some stability for his two daughters: rebellious teen Violet (Taylor Richardson) and eccentric grade-schooler Rose (Mattea Conforti). Kilmer plays Walter, a creepy janitor who tinkers in the basement all day — and becomes a prime suspect when tenants start mysteriously disappearing.
Written by John J. McLaughlin (from an idea by TV über-producer Dick Wolf), “The Super” doesn’t have much new to offer mystery/suspense fans… at least not until a jarring and baffling third-act twist.
Rick handles the scare scenes reasonably well, using the apartment set’s gothic accents to give everything a “The Shining” vibe. But the film follows a dreary pattern of introducing characters and then killing them off quickly — all while teasing the audience with the possibility of something supernatural.
Still, even bad horror movies can have their pleasures, and here it’s Kilmer who gives “The Super” a kick. His lines are mostly overdubbed (in a thick foreign accent, no less); and all he’s really asked to do is be memorably odd. But few living actors are better at that.
Rated: R, for bloody violence, and language
Running time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Playing: Starts Oct. 19, AMC Rolling Hills 20, Torrance; also on VOD