Review: SUPERGRID (2018) – Saskatoon Fantastic Film Festival 2018

The golden days of VHS, when it seems you couldn’t go near the video store without seeing another Italian rip off of MAD MAX. Or a new Roger Corman, shot in the Philippines, post-apocalyptic film. The makers of the new Canadian film SUPERGRID obviously remember those days, as they’ve created an updated version of those old favourites.

Set in the near future, a viral disease known as The Black Lung has wiped out a large chunk of the population. The mining conglomerate Sino-Gazam dominates what was the Midwest. And everything outside of the city is “The Grid” a lawless wasteland dominated by heavily armed gangs.

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Brothers Deke (Marshall Williams) and Jesse (Leo Fafard WOLFCOP, ANOTHER WOLFCOP) used to be the best team of smugglers on the grid. Until Jesse retired. Deke tried replacing him with their sister, with tragic results. Now the two must put their differences aside for one last run for mobster Lazlo (Jonathan Cherry GOON, FINAL DESTINATION 2). But when their cargo turns out to be a cure for the virus, all hell breaks loose.

SUPERGRID was shot on a low budget and made use of several of the run-down and abandoned structures here in Saskatchewan to stretch its resources and give it an authentically gritty look. The open and empty prairie landscape makes a good backdrop for the film. Although with all the action in the film, you might not notice much of it. There’s vehicle chases, shootouts, fights, there’s even an improvised tank that shows up for the final battle.

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There is a bit more of a human element to the film than the typical film of its kind. Estrangement and reconciliation is a recurring theme in SUPERGRID. Apart from each other, both of the brothers have come to distances with women in their lives. And both will have to deal with these issues during the film. Natalie Krill (BELOW HER MOUTH) is excellent as Jesse’s ex-wife, North. As is Tinsel Korey (Z NATION) as Eagle, Deke’s former girlfriend. The chemistry is excellent. Sharp-eyed viewers will also notice a fun performance from ex-pro wrestler Jay “Christian” Reso (DARK RISING, MEDIUM RAW: NIGHT OF THE WOLF) as King Kurtis.

Director Lowell Dean (13 EERIE, WOLFCOP) keeps everything moving at a fast pace and balances the action with the human elements. There’s enough to raise the stakes and make us care about the characters. But it never gets in the way of the film’s action. And action is what the film is about.

SUPERGRID is playing a few festival dates ahead of a December release here in Canada via Raven Banner Entertainment. A US release is in the works.

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