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Film / Super Dark Times

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Super Dark Times is a 2017 film by Kevin Phillips. It is set in 90's pre-internet upstate New York. The main characters are two high-school classmates, Zach Taylor (played by Owen Campbell) and Josh Templeton (played by Charlie Tahan), who are best friends.

One day as Zach and Josh spend time with another schoolmate Daryl and his companion from the 8th grade, Charlie, an unfortunate accident changes everything.

Super dark tropes

  • The '90s: Lampshaded by the speech of Bill Clinton. There's also the lack of internet, smartphones and other modern conveniences.
  • Accidental Murder: The plot kicks off when Josh accidentally stabs Daryl with a katana during a fight, killing him.
  • Adults Are Useless: Virtually all adults in the movie are not aware of what the kids have been up to, and are either not in the movie at all, or are completely negligent or uncaring of the kids emotional plight. Zach's mother is a downplayed aversion; she’s a very clever and caring but she doesn't understand what happens to her boy. She also doesn't participate much in the plot. A group of boys who lack supervision from practically all adults in the film both manage to get their hands on a weapon and kill one of their friends by accident, with their parents either not shown or being none the wiser.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: Zach makes one to Josh while trying to talk him down after Josh killed Meghan and attacked Allison.
  • Asshole Victim: Daryl. He's shown to be extremely irritating and selfish and so universally disliked that nobody cares when he goes missing.
    • To be fair, if one listens carefully to the students whispering around Zach, some of them seem genuinely concerned for Daryl's disappearance.
  • Big Brother Bully: Allison's brother seems to be a downplayed and realistic version of this, bullying her when she's trying to use the phone. Until the end, when he's distraught to see her carried out of Meghan's house in a stretcher.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Josh is arrested, multiple children are dead, and it's unknown what happens to Zach or even Charlie but at least Allison is shown to be recovering.
  • Bystander Syndrome: Charlie seems to have this in spades.
  • Call-Back: Boys shout "penis" in front of the Allison's house. Later she says to Zach that she was weighing whether to shout "penis" in front of his house when she passed by.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Allison writes her new number on Zach's cast. The sight of him helps him discover that Josh called Allison and is on his way to visit her.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Daryl can't help but drop it every other word.
  • Country Matters: A major signifier of Josh's descent into villainy is when he is sent to the principal's office for calling his teacher a cunt.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: Josh apparently doesn't take it very well when he realizes Allison likes Zach and not him.
  • Cut Apart: Zach knocks at the door. Cut to the girls opening the door. For Josh.
  • Desecrating the Dead: Zach returns to Daryl's body and notices that some of his fingers are missing, making him realize that Josh returned to mutilate his body.
  • Disappeared Dad: Zach's mother seems to be a single parent.
  • Dull Surprise: A little girl is barely reacting when Josh tries to murder Zach.
  • Everyone Loves Blondes: When Josh tells Zach he's not into blondes, Zach is downright shocked.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Josh starts the film as a somewhat weird, nerdy, but normal and well-meaning kid but quickly descends into instability after Daryl's death.
  • Fat Bastard: Daryl is loud, obnoxious, crude and short-tempered. The group's Eric Cartman, basically.
  • Felony Misdemeanor: Josh apparently murders John partly because he was present laughing at Josh when he was getting bullied... Even though he wasn't the guy actually bullying Josh.
  • Foreshadowing: Josh jumps on the rails of the bridge. Later it is implied that he kills John Whitcomb throwing him off the same bridge.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: Daryl is practically the poster boy for this trope, and John Whitcomb is implied to be this, as people seem to only tolerate Whitcomb because he supplies them with weed.
  • Gray Rain of Depression: It starts to thunder when Zach runs to confront Josh and rains when Josh is arrested and sits in the car.
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Zach tries to appeal to Josh this way as Josh attempts to murder him in the end. It doesn't work.
  • Invisible Parents: Subverted with Zach's mother (he does not seem to have a father), barely subverted with Josh's mother who shows up only once.
    • Reinforced with other characters whose parents are not shown at all.
  • Invulnerable Knuckles: Averted with Zach. He breaks his arm hitting the wall of the tunnel after Daryl's death.
  • Karma Houdini: Possibly with Charlie. Who spends most, if not all the film simply refusing to get involved with Zach or Josh over the incident and pretends nothing happened. However considering we don't see Zach nor Josh in the end of the film, there's a possibility he is also investigated.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: And exactly as dangerous.
  • Love Triangle: Both Zach and Josh like Allison, but she only has eyes for Zach.
  • Never One Murder: John appears to have been murdered by Josh too, this time intentionally. He also murders Meghan and attempts to kill both Allison and Zach, but fails.
  • Minesweeper: Charlie is seen playing this game as Zach calls him.
  • No Guy Wants to Be Chased: Meghan is attracted to Josh and isn't afraid to show it, but he's never interested.
  • Oh, Crap!: Zach, after slowly realizing what Josh's plan is after discovering he took the katana back and called Allison.
  • Only a Flesh Wound: Used when Josh appears to butcher Zach with katana. Athough the latter is cut several times and reacts to the wounds agonising in slow-mo he is later not even taken away on an ambulance. He stays on his feet and is attended by the nurse.
  • Punch a Wall: Zach punches the wall of a concrete tunnel after Daryl's death. He ends up breaking his hand because of it.
  • Psychological Thriller: The film starts as a dark slice-of-life and slips into this in the third act when Zach realizes Josh has become a villain.
  • Riddle for the Ages: What does the opening scene have in common with the rest of the movie? It is about a deer who somehow finds his way in the classroom and dies there.
  • Sanity Slippage: Josh starts to lose it very quickly following Daryl's death, returning to mutilate Daryl's body, murdering other students and attempting to kill Allison.
  • Specs of Awesome: Josh's rather nerdy glasses become these when wielding the katana. And then turns into Four Eyes, Zero Soul when attempting to murder Zach in the end.
  • Small Town: The setting is a small town in upstate New York.
  • The Stoner: John Whitcomb, and implied with Josh's and Allison's brothers.
  • Suburbia: Upstate New York version.
  • Teens Are Monsters: And how.
  • Trauma Conga Line: The film ends up being this for Zach, Josh, and Charlie (particularly Zach and Josh) after Daryl's death; its primary focus is the way in which the aforementioned boys deal with the trauma of the situation.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Zach is openly shown to vomit after the death of Daryl.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Zach breaks down as Josh tries to kill him, wondering how he could be doing this when they were best friends.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Josh chases after Zach with the intent to kill him, but when Zach falls and is completely defenseless, Josh chooses to just maim and torture him instead.