Super Hybrid (2010) poster

Super Hybrid (2010)


USA/Germany. 2010.


Director – Eric Valette, Screenplay – Neal Marshall Stevens, Producers – Kevin DeWalt, Oliver Hengst. Tim Kwok & Elizabeth Wang-Lee, Photography – John R. Leonetti, Music – Thomas Schobel & Martin Tillmann, Visual Effects – The Animation Picture Company, Banana Studio Inc., Digiart VFX (Supervisors – Seungyong Lee & Minsu Park) & Minds Eye Entertainment (Supervisor – Colin Hubick), Special Effects Supervisor – Paul Noel, Makeup Effects – Emersen Ziffle, Production Design – Thomas Valentine. Production Company – Stallion Media/Tadora KG/Minds Eye Entertainment/Picture Park/Convergence Entertainment/Studio 407.


Shannon Beckner (Tilda), Oded Fehr (Ray), Ryan Kennedy (Bobby), Adrien Dorval (Gordy), Melanie Papalia (Maria), Josh Strait (Al), Alden Adair (Hector), John Reardon (David)


A mysterious car prowls the streets of Chicago, driving itself, parking and then devouring anybody it lures inside. The car is then hit in a collision and totalled. Tilda goes to work, the sole female mechanic on duty at the garage run by Ray. The wrecked car has been towed there. They soon discover that it has a life of its own and that it is capable of changing its shape to resemble any vehicle in order to kill people. As they are hunted through the levels of the garage, they theorise that it is a monster that has learned adaptive abilities. While Ray tries to capture it, the others seek a means to kill it.

Super Hybrid was the fourth film for French director Eric Valette. Valette premiered with Malefique (2002), a unique occult horror set in a prison cell, which received reasonable acclaim. He was then brought to the US for the English-language remake of One Missed Call (2008) and went on to make the non-genre thriller State Affairs (2009). Subsequent to this, he made the prison film The Prey (2011) and the Torture Porn film Thousand Cuts (2017).

Super Hybrid is a variant on the killer car or vehicle film. The first of these was arguable. There was The Twilight Zone episode You Drive (1964) where a car came to life to harass a guilty hit-and-run driver. There was also Steven Spielberg’s first film Duel (1971), although that was more a psychological thriller than a film about a truck amok, nevertheless it formed the template for subsequent films. To follow would be a variety of films where vehicles gain malevolent life with the likes of Killdozer (1974), The Car (1977), The Hearse (1980), Christine (1983), The Wraith (1986), Wheels of Terror (1990), Murdercyle (1998) and Road Train (2010). (For more listing of these see Films About Fantastical Vehicles).

Shapechanging killer car on the attack in Super Hybrid (2010)
Shapechanging killer car on the attack

Most of these do not concern themselves with the whys of their killer cars, although Super Hybrid proves an exception. There’s a great moment in the film where the hood of the car is jacked open and the inside is revealed as being a nest of writhing snake-like heads, which takes Super Hybrid more in the direction of something like Monster Trucks (2016). There is an intriguing scene later on where Ray Kennedy speculates about the car being a monster that has learned to camouflage itself, that previously it may have hidden as a rock but as humanity has evolved it has taken on the form of a car as a more mobile camouflage.

Once he has the characters trapped in the garage (which resembles a disused parking garage) and pursued by the shapeshifting killer vehicle, Eric Valette produces a reasonable show. There is reasonable tension as the characters are pursued, try to trap the car and so on. And the shots of the car prowling around and changing shape create a reasonable menace. Amid the characters, Oded Fehr stands out as the self-serving asshole boss.

The only thing that fully fails to make Super Hybrid work is it being stuck with a B+ budget. Thus the film is centred around the level of people running around a converted parking garage being pursued by very physical cars. When it tries to depict the car shapechanging, the film is reliant on some not very special CGI effects that seem down at the level of 1990s morphing effects. Had the film a much bigger budget and been able to open the action up more, you suspect it could have been quite something.

Trailer here

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