Super Dark Times

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Super Dark Times
Super Dark Times poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Kevin Phillips
Produced by Edward Parks
Richard Peete
Jett Steiger
Written by Ben Collins
Luke Piotrowski
Music by Ben Frost
Cinematography Eli Born
Edited by Ed Yonaitis
Distributed by The Orchard
Release date
  • January 29, 2017 (2017-01-29) (Rotterdam)
  • September 29, 2017 (2017-09-29) (United States)
Running time
103 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $33,109[1]

Super Dark Times is a 2017 American drama thriller film directed by Kevin Phillips and starring Owen Campbell and Charlie Tahan.[2][3][4] It is Phillips's directorial debut.[5][6][7][8] After a traumatic accident, an inseparable pair of teenage boys and best friends lose their innocence from jealousy, violence and paranoia.


In 1996 upstate New York, two teenage best friends, Zach (Owen Campbell) and Josh (Charlie Tahan) rate the girls and female teachers in one of their yearbooks. The pair find a common interest in Allison (Elizabeth Cappuccino).

After school, the duo crosses the path of the universally disliked Daryl (Max Talisman) and his eighth grade friend Charlie (Sawyer Barth). The four of them shop at a convenience store, crack jokes and walk around the outskirts of town. Later that week Zach, Josh and Daryl meet up at Josh’s house. While there, the boys look through Josh's Marine-enlisted brother’s possessions, including pictures of girls, a bag of marijuana, a pair of nunchaku and a katana.

Afterwards the boys excitedly agree to slash milk cartons with the sword in a nearby forest. When it is Charlie’s turn, the boys notice that Daryl has stolen the bag of marijuana from Josh’s brother's room and is smoking it. After a tense argument among the boys, Daryl strikes Josh in the back of the head. The two of them get into a tussle which results in Daryl being accidentally stabbed in the throat with the sword. After a moment of panic the boys decide to hide both Daryl's body and the sword.

During the next two days of school, rumors circulate about Daryl's disappearance and Josh does not show up for classes. Zach has a nightmare in which Daryl appears to him and takes revenge. He visits Josh at home and they discuss how the aftermath of Daryl's death has affected both of them. Zach proposes that they return to Daryl's burial site and go to Allison's party. Josh refuses to do either.

Zach has another dream in which he has sex with Allison on Daryl's burial site while Josh silently looks on. The next day Zach learns that Josh has returned to school but was sent to the principal's office for calling his teacher a cunt. That night Zach goes to Allison's party and is surprised to see Josh there. Not only that, Josh has brought his brother's weed and is sharing it with everyone. Zach is disturbed and leaves, but Allison pursues him and they share a kiss.

Another student named John Whitcomb is found dead and rumors speculate that he fell off a bridge. Zach does not believe this and starts to think that John jumped or that someone pushed him. He rushes to Daryl's burial site and is shocked to find that the sword and three of the corpse's fingers are missing. He calls Charlie and tells him that he suspects Josh killed John under the pretense of buying some weed off of him. Charlie, unnerved, tells Zach not to call him again and hangs up. Later, Josh arrives at Zach's house and avoids answering Zach's questions about the sword. Josh becomes angry and storms off.

Zach goes to Josh's house the next morning but no one opens the door. He breaks in and goes to Josh's room, looking for any evidence that Josh was responsible for John's death or the mutilation of Daryl's body. He discovers Allison's phone number on the caller ID. Allison is not home and Zach frantically runs to Meghan's house. Josh, Allison and Meghan have been smoking the remainder of the weed. When asked by the girls what Josh has wrapped in the beach towel he is holding, he responds by telling them it is a surprise.

Zach gets to Meghan's house and quietly makes his way up to the stairs. He hears muffled screams coming from Meghan's bedroom and opens the door to find Josh has murdered Meghan with the katana which had been hidden in the beach towel. Allison is tied and gagged in the corner, wounded but still alive.

Josh locks Zach out of the room, but Zach climbs up on the roof and breaks through the window to get back inside. Josh surprise attacks Zach. Zach tearfully asks what has happened to him. Zack attempts to try to escape until Josh slashes him in the shoulder and then stabs him in the leg. Zach pulls the katana out of his leg and tries to fight Josh off with his fists but Josh begins to strangle him. A neighbor intervenes, separates them, and holds Josh down.

Police and paramedics arrive at the dark and rainy scene. While the paramedics attend to Zach's wounds, Zach is sitting up and conscious and asks if everyone is okay. He glances at Josh sitting in the dark back of a police car and then looks away. The fate of both boys is left ambiguous.

Months later, Allison has recovered from her ordeal and returns to school. A shot from the back reveals the scars she received from the sword: three parallel lines on the back of her neck.


  • Owen Campbell as Zach Taylor
  • Charlie Tahan as Josh Templeton
  • Elizabeth Cappuccino as Allison Bannister
  • Kortnee Simmons as Eugene
  • Max Talisman as Daryl Harper
  • Sawyer Barth as Charlie Barth
  • Amy Hargreaves as Karen Taylor
  • Adea Lennox as Meghan
  • Ethan Botwick as John Whitcomb
  • Anni Krueger as Mrs. Barron


The film premiered at the Rotterdam Film Festival.[9] It made its North American premiere on April 20, 2017 at the Tribeca Film Festival.[10] Deadline Hollywood reported that The Orchard had acquired worldwide distribution rights to the film in March 2017.[11] The film was released in theaters on September 29, 2017, and digitally on October 3, 2017.[12] It plays on Netflix streaming.[13]


The film has a 92% rating on Rotten Tomatoes,[14] and holds a 75 on Metacritic.

David Ehrlich of IndieWire graded the film a B-.[15]


Super Dark Times won the best feature film award at the 17th Neuchâtel International Fantastic Film Festival.[16] It was also the winner of Best Sound Design in a Feature Film at the 2017 Music+Sound Awards,[17] and received a nomination for the Saturn Award for Best Independent Film at the 44th Saturn Awards.[18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Super Dark Times at Box Office Mojo
  2. ^ Miska, Brad (21 April 2017). "[Tribeca Review] 'Super Dark Times' is a Teenage Nightmare". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved 11 August 2017.
  3. ^ Martin, Philip (5 May 2017). "Super Dark Times". Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Retrieved 11 August 2017.
  4. ^ Tallerico, Brian (20 July 2017). "FANTASIA 2017, DAY 6: "BAD GENIUS," "SUPER DARK TIMES"". Retrieved 11 August 2017.
  5. ^ Sokol, Tony (2 August 2017). "Super Dark Times Trailer Reveals High School Horrors". Den of Geek. Retrieved 11 August 2017.
  6. ^ Oller, Jacob (21 April 2017). "Super Dark Times (2017 Tribeca Film Festival Review)". Paste (magazine). Retrieved 11 August 2017.
  7. ^ Evans, Greg (2 August 2017). "'Super Dark Times' Trailer: Moment Of Horror Drives Harrowing Teen Drama". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 11 August 2017.
  8. ^ Weissberg, Jay (1 February 2017). "Rotterdam Film Review: 'Super Dark Times'". Variety (magazine). Retrieved 11 August 2017.
  9. ^ Young, Neil (2 February 2017). "'Super Dark Times': Film Review; Rotterdam 2017". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 11 August 2017.
  10. ^ McGovern, Joe (20 April 2017). "Watch an exclusive clip from high school thriller Super Dark Times". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 11 August 2017.
  11. ^ Grobar, Matt (22 April 2017). "'Super Dark Times' Stars & Director Kevin Phillips On An Act Of Violence That Changes Everything — Tribeca Studio". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 11 August 2017.
  12. ^ McGovern, Joe (2 August 2017). "Super Dark Times: Check out a tense trailer for the new high school thriller". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 11 August 2017.
  13. ^ "Super Dark Times". Retrieved January 18, 2018.
  14. ^ "Super Dark Times". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 11 August 2017.
  15. ^ Ehrlich, David (20 April 2017). "Review: 'Super Dark Times' Is An Unnerving Cross Between 'Stand By Me' and 'Donnie Darko' — Tribeca 2017". IndieWire. Retrieved 11 August 2017.
  16. ^ Gash, Lawrence (10 July 2017). "'Super Dark Times' takes top prize at Neuchatel". Screen Daily. Retrieved 11 August 2017.
  17. ^ "2017 Winners". Music+Sound Awards. Retrieved 2018-01-04.
  18. ^ McNary, Dave (March 15, 2018). "'Black Panther,' 'Walking Dead' Rule Saturn Awards Nominations". Variety. Archived from the original on March 15, 2018. Retrieved March 15, 2018.

External links[edit]