The movie takes place in a small Ohio town in the summer of 1979. A group of friends are out making a zombie movie with a Super 8 camera when they witness an explosive train crash. Once the zombie film’s young “director” gets over how awesome the fiery backdrop is for his film’s “production values”, things take a scary turn. The kids are warned to forget what they saw, the military swoops in to cover up the mystery of the train’s cargo, and strange things start happening in the town.
The movie has a definite Lost meets E.T. vibe – not too surprising, considering it was written and directed by Lost co-creator J.J. Abrams and produced by Steven Spielberg. Both know the drill when it comes to mixing family drama, action adventure and science fiction into a suspenseful, yet entertaining package.
The movie works in part because of a genuinely likeable cast that includes Kyle Chandler (Friday Night Lights) as a deputy sheriff determined to uncover the cover-up, Joel Courtney as his son Joe, Elle Fanning as the only “actor” in the zombie film who can actually act, and Riley Griffiths as the director wannabe who takes his craft very seriously. The Griffiths character – who must have more than just a little of a young J.J. Abrams in him – definitely provides the bulk of the movie’s comic relief.
Super 8 isn’t my favorite movie of the year. Some things didn’t quite track (gee, just like Lost!), and the ending was a bit corny for my taste. But overall, it does make for a nice, harmless diversion on a hot summer day. And the soundtrack includes Blondie’s “Heart of Glass.” I mean, really, what more could you ask for nostalgia-wise?
And finally, take note: Don’t – under any circumstances- skip the end credits! They’re classic.
Super 8 is rated PG-13 for some intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence, language and a pot-smoking dude.