Friday, August 06, 2021

Super Hot – review

Director: Taylor King

Release date: 2021

Contains spoilers

If I told you that I was reviewing a film called Super Hot about vampires in a sorority house then I’d expect your mind to either wander towards I being an 80s or 90s sexploitation flick or shudder as you remembered the Sisterhood. Well rest assured that this is not as bad as the latter but nor does it resemble the former (and in truth it struggles to resemble the comedy it’s supposed to be, alas).

Superhot is the name of a pizza company that primary character Jackie (Kandace Kale) is employed by at the head of the film and it is at the head of the film that we start seeing the issue with the film (and character) but first we have a prologue scene…

Lissa Carandang-Sweeney as Monica

The scene opens with two men driving to a rendezvous in the middle of nowhere. They are meeting Miss Stoker (Lissa Carandang-Sweeney), or Monica… Now here we have an issue… Had Monica chosen an alias of Stoker it may have been a rather nice use of meta but it isn’t referred to again. As Dracula, the novel, is a known property in this world (and Dracula, the vampire, was real in this world) the name seems hokey – though it isn’t the only named character reference, Jackie’s surname is Polidori. Anyway, they have brought a book, suspended on chains in a crate as mortal man cannot touch it (one of them is injured having done just that). Monica takes the book – indicating she (and her female posse for that matter) is more than human. They pay for the book with two antique scarab beetles and then one of the posse, Zoe (Cait Medearis), breaks one of the men’s neck – in a aren’t we bad-ass and super powered kind of way – and Monica says to the other he is lucky he isn’t her type.

Kandace Kale as Jackie

So, the film starts proper and we see the Super Hot pizza car and Jackie pulls up to make a delivery. The customer says Jackie is late and therefore she gets the pizza for free. Jackie refuses, it isn’t their policy – no money no pizza. But she is sullen in delivery. Driving back some ‘mean girls’ pull up at a stop sign and clearly know her and cat call – Jackie’s response is understated and still morose. And all the way through the pose of the character and the delivery of any dialogue is sullen – and its not even emo for effect, it is just sullen. This might not be the fault of Kandace Kale, it may well be that she was directed to act that way as the film itself plods and fails to raise excitement through its length.

the friends

So Jackie gets back to base and quits – she is spending the next two weeks with her best friends before they go to college (she is taking a year out). They are waiting for her – there is Kevin (Coleson Berlin) and Sam (Elijah Cooke). A discussion in the car about alternate movie casting shows us that they are nerds – adding to that is a trip to the comic book/collectables store later. Its just, again, nothing is done with this. They get aback to Jackie’s and over the road lives Jackie’s crush, Carmen (Sierra Michelle). She is meant to be going to college in a week but Jackie notices she is moving and Kevin and Sam force her to speak to her. She is being helped to move to her new sorority by her boyfriend Brad (Sam Watkins).

finding a rubber hand

With Kevin gone to work, Jackie and Sam are left to their own devices – which ends up with Jackie stalking Carmen, going as far as borrowing her old work uniform and delivering a pizza (she buys herself) to get into the sorority house. Once there, however, they realise that things are off (Sam finds a – very rubber – limb in a bin and sees drinks being spiked (with poison he assumes)). Getting away Zoe goes after them and is killed (via shotgun, with no explanation as to why that works against a vampire) by a man who introduces himself as Warren Van Helsing (Nobuaki Shimamoto). He knows the vampires have the book and there is a ritual that they would have to do at midnight, involving virgin sacrifice, that will bring back Dracula. The race is on to rescue Carmen.

stabbed by crowbar

So the vampire lore is inconsistent. They talk about stakes and holy water working but a shotgun blast to the torso apparently works well enough (Zoe does get back up but subsequently dies). There is a joke set around holy water, with Jackie and a super soaker, going to the church (off screen) to fill it, discovering the church is shut and, when we next we see her, googling how to make holy water – and it subsequently not working. The joke draws out, and not seeing them go to the church doesn’t help, and the gag just falls flat. The vampires are looking to bring Dracula back as they want eternal youth (which he can grant) as they are models, but they are already vampires so that feels off. They are, of course, day walkers. Jackie is more necessary to their plot than she realises but then that's a plot that depends on a woman deciding to stalk her crush, and turn up, on that specific day.

Nobuaki Shimamoto as Warren

The film plods along. I never got a sense of excitement through its length. Sat with the sorority vampires for instance, Jackie should have been oblivious but we should have had a palpable tension building, instead, it feels pedestrian – a none event even. The acting builds into that generally, nothing switching the dial up – Nobuaki Shimamoto is probably the most experienced actor in the film but his performance felt phoned in (though showing flashes of his craft) and he was under-used (he spends the climax unconscious so the friends have to deal with the threat). Probably the one performance that threatened to upset the apple cart by being fun was that of Elijah Cooke – his character Sam felt a bit like Richard Ayoade’s Moss from the IT Guys but was genuinely personable. The film states (at credit roll) that Dracula and Warren would return in a Van Helsing film but that film needs to have the pizazz that this didn’t if they’re going to do it. As it is, this film could have been better by a country mile. 3 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.

On Demand @ Amazon US

On Demand @ Amazon UK


EpimeTheAus said...

I tried to watch this, but I tapped out so fast it broke the sound barrier.

Taliesin_ttlg said...

Hi EpimeTheAus, I really wish I could say to you that you should have stuck it out but I can't. Your tap out was likely much faster than the film's pace

Reichard Könige said...

As C movies go it's fine. I think babysitter must die is a solid C almost B movie. Super hot though needs a lot of help.

Taliesin_ttlg said...

Hi Reichard - I agree it does need a lot of help... re Babysitter, I'd not caught it but the trailer looks pretty solid and I'll have to give it a watch