Supergrid is a post-apocalyptic action film from the director of Wolfcop/Another Wolfcop – Lowell Dean. Starring Leo Fafard, Marshall Williams, Natalie Krill, Jay Reso, Amy Matysio and Jonathan Cherry, the film is scheduled for release in 2018 via Raven Banner. Here is my review of Supergrid from the Calgary International Film Festival!
Supergrid is set in a near future where mining conglomerates have turned Canada into a wasteland. Two brothers must travel the same road that claimed their sister’s life in their quest to deliver mysterious cargo. En route they must contend with road pirates, rebel gangs, and each other.
Reviewed at the Calgary International Film Festival!
After not one, but TWO over-the-top grindhouse horror comedies – Wolfcop and Another Wolfcop — director Lowell Dean has opted to helm a more straight-forward action thriller with the post-apocalyptic SUPERGRID. If you’re a fan of the Wolfcop franchise, don’t worry though, because you’ll get to see MANY familiar faces, including leading man Leo Fafard, who plays one of two brothers forced to head out onto the most dangerous highway in the world. If I had to pick a favourite performance from the film, it would be Fafard’s, who really did some tremendous work here and I think it’s about time he stopped doing so much work behind the camera as a grip (yes he still busts his ass on various film crew jobs) and started going for more major leading roles. Fafard is one of Canada’s best actors in my opinion and his co-leading performance in SUPERGRID is perfect.
But enough praise for Fafard (we get it – he’s a badass), let’s talk about what makes SUPERGRID stand apart from the rest of the post-apocalypse thrillers that are flooding the market these days. For starters – this is not simply just the Canadian Mad Max. After watching the film, although there are shades of Mad Max throughout, I would suggest that SUPERGRID owes more to the Western genre than anything else. Yes there are mask-wearing quasi-mutant highway pirates on motorcycles, but if you swapped out all the modern vehicles with horses instead, you’d be watching a damn fine action western my friends. There are some tasty showdowns throughout this film, including some very intense moments at the Canada-USA border, which is controlled by the enigmatic King Kurtis (played brilliantly by former WWE superstar William Jason Reso — aka Christian).
The script and story from T.R. McCauley and Justin Ludwig crafts this unique vision of the future where the climate has become so unstable from fracking, that tremors plague the Earth and a horrible disease is causing people to cough up this putrid black liquid, which slowly degrades humans over time to the point where they can become deranged lepers. Not zombies damn you – not zombies. I want to make that very clear. Leading man Deke (played by GLEE’s Marshall Williams) does an admirable job playing the younger of our two brothers and although I do think he has room to grow as a performer, he does a solid job playing this tortured courier who is forced to live with his criminal lifestyle that comes back to haunt him and his loved ones. Williams is at his best when he riffs with his onscreen brother. The chemistry between Fafard and Williams is very believable, whether it’s an emotional moment where they reflect on the death of their sister, or better yet the funnier scenes where Fafard will grab a cigarette from Willaims’ mouth and toss it out the window. It works and it was in these scenes that really developed them as complete characters for me and turned them into people that I actually cared about. Because of that chemistry – I didn’t want them to die and there are a lot of moments in SUPERGRID where they are put into some very dangerous situations.
SUPERGRID is a no-holds barred pedal to the metal action movie and under Dean’s direction, the film really hits its stride when the brothers take to the highway and wind up being tasked with picking up and protecting a super-important piece of cargo — the cure. There’s a highway action sequence where they are forced to fight off some jacks (aka masked bandits) and I couldn’t believe how believable the digital effects were in this movie-stealing sequence. There are two kills that stole the film for me here, including one with a close-up headshot that I could have swore was practical make-up, but director Lowell Dean assured me it was mostly digital. For a film that cost just over one million dollars to make, SUPERGRID looked damn good. I’ve seen a ton of indie flicks and I can honestly say that the special effects were utilised all very well to create a gory and exciting thrill-ride.
If I had some criticism, it would be that the film feels a little rushed during the climactic showdown on the Native reservation. There are several supporting characters all thrust into dangerous situations and editing the chaos together into one streamlined event just didn’t seem as fluid as it could have been. The villains of the story, a nasty corporation looking to bottle the cure and profit heavily from it, were effective earlier in the movie, especially Fei Ren who plays Jonathan Cherry’s deadly bodyguard. I would have loved to see MORE of her and Cherry doing horrible things to people in order to give the climax a bit more weight when they square off with our protagonists. SUPERGRID is too short – it’s only around 80 minutes long and I think it would have been perfect with an additional 20 minutes to flesh out these interesting supporting performances just a tad more.
I’m a sucker for a good post-apocalyptic flick. So I consider myself a really big fan of this genre and I do believe that SUPERGRID is a fine addition to the ever-growing library of wasteland thrillers. Filmed in Saskatchewan, SUPERGRID is a nasty and exciting flurry of chaos on Canada’s Fury Road. Don’t go into this one expecting Wolf Cop levels of goofy mayhem, but be prepared to have one helluva good time. Canada is… after all cannibal country don’t you know?